San Francisco has become the first major city in the nation to outlaw the declawing of cats.
Some pet owners declaw their felines to protect themselves, or their furniture, from scratches. But pet advocates condemn the practice as animal cruelty.
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 to enact a ban on the declawing of cats. Supervisors Sean Elsbernd and Michela Alioto-Pier voted against the legislation.
“It is well-documented and well-understood from a medical prospective that [declawing] is torture. It is a form of animal cruelty,” said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who introduced the legislation.
Other California cities are considering adopting similar bans. The Los Angeles City Council is expected to vote on whether to enact a ban by the end of the year. West Hollywood banned declawing in 2003. Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Berkeley are considering similar ordinances. Declawing is illegal in 20 countries, including most of Europe, Brazil, Japan and Israel.
The California Veterinary Medical Association opposed the legislation. The group said declawing should be left up to veterinarians and not politicians.
“I don’t support the board making those types of medical decisions,” Alioto-Pier told The Examiner after the meeting. “It seems misplaced. I think that the doctors and the vets should be making those decisions. And if it’s a bigger issue than that then the state of California should be outlawing that.”
Violators of the ban, such as anyone who declaws a cat or a pet owner who approves of a declawing, could face up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $1,000.
Many cities have decided to consider such a ban because a state law was recently adopted that would prohibit cities from enacting the bans after Jan. 1.
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