RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A new bill filed in the Virginia General Assembly would ban the practice of declawing cats across the commonwealth, a policy endorsed by animal rights activists.
Under House Bill 1382, sponsored by Delegate Wendy Gooditis (D – Loudoun), anyone who performs a declawing procedure on a cat would be subject to a fine between $500 and $2,500, which would go to support local animal control offices.
The bill also includes an exception for cases in which “is necessary for a therapeutic purpose,” such as to address an infection or defect in the cat’s paw.
If the bill is adopted by the General Assembly during next year’s session and signed by the Governor, Virginia would join Maryland and New York, the only two states to so far have instituted broad bans on the practice.
A ban on declawing is supported by the Humane Society of the United States, who say the procedure is equivalent to “cutting off your fingers at the last knuckle.”
The American Veterinary Medical Association also opposes “elective” declawing, and writes that the organization “supports non-surgical alternatives to the procedure” — however, they stop short of calling for a ban on the practice, instead saying that individual veterinarians can use their professional judgement.