Owning a scratched-up sofa may be a small price to pay compared to the $1,000 dollars in fines and six months in jail pet owners in California will face for having their cats declawed.
Once considered an essential step to pet care, the veterinary procedure of declawing cats has now been banned by city councils in San Francisco, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Berkeley and Beverly Hills, MSNBC reports.
"It’s a form of animal cruelty," San Francisco supervisor Ross Mirkarimi told the news source. "It would be unconscionable to ignore that fact."
With a vote of 9-2, the San Francisco board of supervisors voted to enact the ban, which they noted had previously been instituted in the U.K. and Australia.
However, representatives from the California Veterinary Medical Association have argued that the decision to declaw cats should be left to the pet owners and their veterinarians. "Removing a cat’s claws in a humane manner with proper pain management may prevent that animal from being abandoned at a shelter, tossed out on the street or euthanized."
A study published in the September 2002 issue of Animal Times determined that 75 percent of cats turned in to a Delaware animal shelter for avoiding their litter boxes had been declawed.