Senate Deputy Leader Gianaris, Assembly Member Rosenthal Announces His First-In-The-Nation Cat Declawing Ban Enacted

New Law Imposes $1,000 Fine For Medically Unnecessary Declawing Procedures

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal announced their first-in-the-nation cat declawing ban had been signed into law by the Governor.

"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 new Senate majority's emphasis on animal welfare and am glad the Governor enacted this legislation." 

“Today New York becomes the first state in the nation to ban the barbaric practice of cat declawing,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan). “It’s a cat-tastic day for the felines of New York and the many people who love them. Cat declawing is a cruelty, and given the availability of low-cost and pain-free alternatives, it’s totally unnecessary, most often performed to protect people's furniture from cats' scratching. Now that my bill has become law, New York has been catapulted onto the leaderboard of humane states, and I expect other states to quickly follow suit.”                 

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, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Burbank and Culver City have enacted anti-declawing laws. State legislatures in California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and West Virginia are considering similar measures.