Michigan House Considers Bill to Ban Cat Declawing

In this Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, file photograph, a black cat lounges on a small bed in Morristown, N.J. New Jersey could become the first state to prohibit veterinarians from declawing cats. The bill's sponsor said declawing is “a barbaric practice” that more often than not is done for convenience. …
AP Photo/Mel Evans, File

The Michigan House is proposing a bill that would make it illegal for state residents to declaw their house cats.

State Rep. Nate Shannon (D-Sterling Heights), along with 20 other Michigan lawmakers, have introduced House Bill 5508, a bill that would outlaw the practice of declawing cats except for “therapeutic” purposes.

“An individual shall not perform by any means an onychectomy, a partial or complete phalangectomy, or a tendonectomy procedure, or any other surgical procedure that prevents normal functioning of the claws, on a cat in this state, unless the procedure is necessary for a therapeutic purpose,” House Bill No. 5508 states.

The bill goes on to define therapeutic purposes as those needed to treat pain or a cat’s existing medical conditions. Those who violate the rules could face a $1,000 fine, the Detroit Free Press reported.

If the bill becomes law, Michigan will become the second state to ban the practice of declawing cats. New York became the first state to do so last July.

“Owning a pet is a big decision, but abusing an animal and causing them long-term persistent pain to make caring for them easier for the pet owner is unacceptable,” Shannon said in a statement. “I want to encourage responsible and ethical pet ownership with this bill.”


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