The Board of Supervisors City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee approved on Monday legislation that would make it illegal to declaw cats in San Francisco. The full board is expected to vote to approve the ban next Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who introduced the legislation, said that “we believe that there are a great number of reasons why that this should be banned” noting that the practice is “animal cruelty.” The ban was recommended by The City’s Animal Control and Welfare Commission.
Declawing is illegal in 20 countries, including most of Europe, Brazil, Japan and Israel. In the United States, Norfolk, Virginia and West Hollywood have such bans.
Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Berkeley and Beverly Hills may follow suit.
Violators of the ban, such as any one who declaws or a pet owner who approves of the declawing, could face up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $1,000.
Declawing has serious adverse impacts on the cats, according to the legislation. “Cats declawed may display behavioral, psychological and personality changes, including litter box avoidance and biting,” the bill says.
Some pet owners elected to have their cats declawed to prevent damage to household items or to prevent the cat from scratching their flesh.
The proposed ban would have to go into effect by the time a new state law does. A state bill approved by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would prohibit any city from enacting such a ban after Jan. 1, 2010.
The California Veterinary Medical Association opposes San Francisco’s proposed ban. The group says declawing should be left up to veterinarians and not politicians. It also advocates for uniform statewide laws governing veterinarian practices.