Blockbuster Victory for Hollywood Cats

Posted on July 3, 2007

Life is good for the cats of West Hollywood! The state appeals court in Los Angeles recently upheld the city’s ban on the cruel procedure of cat "declawing." Writing for the majority, Justice Dennis Perluss said West Hollywood can "set minimum standards for the humane treatment of animals within its borders."

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed an amicus, or "friend of the court," brief in the case, supporting the city’s right to ban the cruel procedure within its borders; other groups filing briefs in support of upholding the ban were the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, the Paw Project, and the City and County of San Francisco. The amicus brief noted that "By passing the Ordinance, the citizens of West Hollywood joined a growing community around the world that considers declawing for non-therapeutic purposes to be cruel."

Declawing is not simply a feline pedicure; it is a surgical procedure in which a cat’s toes are amputated at the last joint. Because not only the nail, but a portion of the bone, is removed, this unnecessary operation is extremely painful and causes permanent disability. When their toes are amputated in declawing procedures, cats lose their primary method of defense, which can make the physically vulnerable and cause psychological and behavioral problems. Their balance is impaired, and painful complications can result. Knowing this, it’s no surprise that in many countries, declawing is illegal. The British Veterinary Associations calls declawing an "unnecessary mutilation."

Read on to see what the San Francisco Chronicle had to say about the ruling in the West Hollywood case.