NJ bill would fine vets for removing cats’ claws

(Eric Walter/WHYY)

(Eric Walter/WHYY)

New Jersey could become the first state to ban veterinarians from declawing cats.

A bill passed by the Assembly and awaiting action in the Senate would fine veterinarians as much as $2000 for performing the procedure unless it’s considered medically necessary.

Kathleen Schatzmann, the state director of the Humane Society, supports the proposed ban.

“It is an unnecessary surgery most often performed for convenience issues such as to address problems scratching of household furniture and it provides no benefit whatsoever to the cat.”

Michael Yurkus, a member of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, opposes the bill.  He says pet owners with certain medical conditions would have to give up their cat if they couldn’t get it declawed. 

“Clients who have had transplants or are on immunotherapy, on blood thinners, they have HIV, they have cancer. Something where a cat even playfully scratching them could lead to a life-threatening infection.”

Yurkas says the declaw decision should be left to pet owners and their veterinarians and not banned by the government.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.