Eight localities in CA have already banned declawing. A newly introduced bill would prevent the state’s landlords from setting declawing and devocalization requirements for prospective tenants with pets, if passed.
We frequently hear from European readers who are appalled to learn that cat declawing is allowed the US. Our usual response is to note that the practice is now widely deplored by both pet owners and veterinarians alike.
In recent years, the California communities of Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Culver City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica and West Hollywood have banned declawing, recognizing that the practice is cruel and without benefit.
Last week, California State Senator Fran Pavley introduced a bill that takes a step forward in protecting the state’s cats and dogs from declawing and devocalization (sometimes called debarking). Devocalization is as unpalatable to dog lovers as declawing is to cat lovers. It deprives a dog of the ability to make sounds, for the convenience of people. Senator Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) introduced Senate Bill 1229, a bill to help protect the pets of people who are potential renters, on February 23.
This bill would prohibit a landlord from advertising or establishing rental policies requiring tenant’s an animals to be declawed or devocalized. There is an ongoing trend of some landlords conditioning occupancy of rental housing on the declawing of cats and, or the devocalizing of dogs.
“There are a number of steps landlords can take to protect their properties from damage by pets. Pressuring pet owners to subject their pets to the risks of permanently damaging procedures is unnecessary, expensive and just plain wrong,” said Senator Pavley.
SB 1229 would impose a civil penalty of $1,000 per animal for every violation that results in declawing or devocalization.
Senator Pavley said, “A search of rental listings throughout California produces a number of properties with landlords and managers requiring that potential owners will be considered only with declawed cats or devocalized dogs. These practices can have unintended consequences for property managers, physical complications for animals, and emotional and financial consequences for pet owners.”
Declawing is an operation to remove or to prevent the normal function of an animal’s claws or toes. The practice of declawing has been prohibited in other countries, including Austria, Brazil, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Malta, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
As an alternative to declawing or devocalization, landlords may include language in contracts making tenants liable for pet-related damage; require that tenants supply their cats with scratch posts, require an additional refundable security deposit or “pet deposit;” provide scratching posts to tenants with cats and select fabrics for furnished apartments that are less likely to appeal to cats.
California residents can write to Senator Pavley to show support for the legislation. Mail or fax Senator Fran Pavley at: State Capitol, Room 4035, Sacramento, CA 95814, Phone: (916) 651-4023, Fax: (916) 324-4823. Mor importantly, California residents who want this bill to become law should tell their own district’s legislators that they want Senate Bill 1229 to pass and expect them to support it.
For those interested in the issue of declawing, you can also visit The Paw Project on Facebook