ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Maryland House on Thursday approved a measure to ban the declawing of cats unless it is medically necessary.
If Gov. Larry Hogan signs the bill, Maryland would become the second state to ban the practice, according to The Associated Press. New York issued a statewide ban in 2019.
The Maryland Senate passed a bill earlier in the legislative session, but each chamber must approve the other’s version before it reaches the governor’s desk, according to the AP.
The procedure, now deemed barbaric and unnecessary by pet owners and some veterinarians, is banned in many parts of the world and also in several cities across the U.S. including Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Denver, The Washington Post reported.
“When people wrap their head around it, the idea that we would mutilate to protect a furniture item is abhorrent to people,” Maryland State Delegate Lorig Charkoudian, the House sponsor, told the newspaper.
The bill prohibits veterinarians from declawing cats for cosmetic or aesthetic reasons, or for the convenience of their owners, People reported. The procedure would be allowed if needed for medical reasons.
Vets would face a fine of up to $5,000 for a first offense and up to $10,000 for a second offense, the AP reported. The veterinarians would also face suspension or revocation of their licenses.
“Declawing is a violent, invasive, painful, and unnecessary mutilation that involves 10 separate amputations – not just of cats’ nails but of their joints as well,” PETA states on its website. “Declawing is both painful and traumatic, and it was been outlawed in Germany and other parts of Europe as a form of cruelty.”
On its website, The American Veterinary Medical Association states, “AVMA discourages declawing as an elective procedure and supports non-surgical alternatives. Declawing is a major surgery involving amputation and is not medically necessary for the cat in most cases.”