The Animal Legal Defense Fund supports this bill.
Sponsors: State Sen. Mark Montigny (D-Second Bristol and Plymouth)
Introduction Date: January 20, 2023
An Act Prohibiting Inhumane Feline Declawing (S.190) would ban cat declawing in Massachusetts, except in rare situations of medical necessity to address an existing or recurring infection, disease, injury, or abnormal condition in the claw that jeopardizes the cat’s health.
Declawing is an invasive surgical procedure in which the last bone of a cat’s toes is amputated — similar to severing a human finger at the last knuckle. It is commonly performed for human convenience, rather than for the cat’s well-being. For example, many people have their cats declawed to prevent them from scratching furniture.
Besides post-surgical pain and the inability to perform natural behaviors such as scratching, there are other negative implications for a cat’s well-being associated with declawing. The procedure can cause lifelong physical problems and lead to behavioral issues, such as biting and aggression, which the cat may resort to because they have been stripped of their primary defense mechanism.
New York and Maryland are the first U.S. states to ban declawing. Many large cities have jurisdictional bans, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Madison, West Hollywood, Austin, Denver, Beverly Hills, and Berkeley.
Why is this law important? If enacted, this legislation would protect countless Massachusetts cats from a painful and unnecessary surgical procedure (while still allowing declawing in the rare cases when it is necessary for the health of the cat, such as in the treatment of cancer of the nail bed).
Coalition Support: Paw Project, Animal Rescue League of Boston, MSPCA, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association
For more information about animal protection legislation in Massachusetts and opportunities to take action for animals, visit aldf.org/massachusetts.