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November 15, 2016

Bill to prohibit declawing of cats advances in N.J. legislature

New Jersey could become the first state in the country to ban the practice of declawing cats.

A bill was approved Monday by a 3-1 vote with one abstention in the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. The proposed law would punish anyone who performs an onychectomy that is not considered medically necessary by a veterinarian.

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Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington County) sponsored the legislation that recognizes declawing as a form of animal abuse. His bill would allow the procedure only for therapeutic purposes, such as the removal of cancerous tumors.

"Declawing is a barbaric practice that more often than not is done for the sake of convenience rather than necessity," Singleton said. "Many countries worldwide acknowledge the inhumane nature of declawing, which causes extreme pain to cats. It's time for New Jersey to join them."

Some declawing methods cause bleeding, infections, and other pain. Violators would face a fine of up to $1,000 and six months imprisonment.

If New Jersey passes the bill, it would be the first state to do so. However, several cities in California recently enacted laws to ban the act. New York is also considering a statewide ban.