A state appeals court has ruled that cities in California can ban cat declawing as long as it doesn’t prohibit procedures that state law expressly allows.
On Friday, the court reinstated the West Hollywood ordinance, passed in 2003, which states that the “mere convenience (of declawing) to the pet’s guardian does not justify the unnecessary pain, anguish and permanent disability caused (to) the animal.”
This measure makes it a crime to perform declawing surgery within city limits, except for therapeutic purposes such as removal of infected tissues. Declawed cats that are brought into the city are allowed under the measure.
More on the cat declawing ban after the jump.
Some veterinarians oppose declawing, but their trade group, the California Veterinary Medical Association, has fought the ordinance in court and also opposed statewide legislation.
The surgery involves removing not only the claw but also all or part of the last bone and connecting tendons and ligaments on a feline’s paw. Opponents say the procedure is cruel and unnecessary.
Dissenting Justice Fred Woods said veterinary practice is “a statewide concern” that a city can’t regulate.
The ruling should encourage other local governments to pass similar ordinances, said Bruce Wagman, a lawyer for the Animal Legal Defense Fund.