Gianaris, Rosenthal Announce Passage Of First-In-The-Nation Legislation To Ban Cat Declawing

New Bill Would Impose $1,000 Fine For Medically Unnecessary Declawing Procedures

ALBANY, N.Y. – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal today announced that both the New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation (S.5532B/A.1303A) to ban cat declawing in New York. Once it is signed, New York will become the first state in the nation to enact such a proposal. 

 "Cat declawing is a brutal procedure similar to severing a human finger at the first knuckle and has lifelong ramifications for cats,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. I am proud of the Senate’s emphasis on animal welfare and I am pleased we passed this important proposal."

After years of advocacy, New York State is poised to become the first state in the nation to ban the cruel and unnecessary practice of cat declawing," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF - Manhattan). "Cat declawing is a horrific, yet often-practiced surgery that leads to a lifetime of pain and discomfort for thousands of cats. Today though, every cat and kitten in New York State lands on its feet as we prepare to make New York the best state for cats to live in the United States. I want to thank the advocates and my colleagues who together with me have fought to see this bill become law since 2015. I look forward to it being signed into law.”   

The legislation bans cat declawing unless performed to address a legitimate medical condition. Any person found to be in violation of the law would be subject to a civil penalty of $1,000.

Cat declawing, also known as onychectomy, is the permanent, surgical removal of most of the last bone, and the tendons, nerves and ligaments on the paws of a cat. Declawing often results in intense and chronic lifetime pain for the cat, and also causes unwanted behavioral issues, such as aggression, refusal to use the litter box, depression, biting and/or spraying. Nine cities across the country, including Denver, CO, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Burbank and Culver City, CA have enacted anti-declawing. Legislatures in California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and West Virginia are considering similar measures.