Maryland closer to being 2nd state to ban cat declawing

<p>Griselda, a domestic long-haired cat, already declawed when she was surrendered by her owner for adoption, plays inside her enclosure at the Animal Haven pet shelter in New York in June 2019. New York banned cat declawing in 2019.</p>

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Griselda, a domestic long-haired cat, already declawed when she was surrendered by her owner for adoption, plays inside her enclosure at the Animal Haven pet shelter in New York in June 2019. New York banned cat declawing in 2019.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Maryland House voted Thursday to prohibit the declawing of cats unless it’s necessary for a therapeutic purpose.

Maryland would become the second state in the nation to ban the practice. New York banned it in 2019.

And now Delaware is also getting in on the issue as a bill introduced in that state’s House would prohibit cat owners from declawing their pets.

The Maryland Senate passed a bill earlier in the legislative session. Each chamber would still need to approve the measure passed by the other to send the legislation to Gov. Larry Hogan.

Supporters of the ban say declawing hurts the cat and leaves it unable to defend itself.

The Maryland measure bans declawing, unless it addresses a medical condition that compromises the health or well-being of a cat.

Veterinarians would not be able to declaw cats for cosmetic or aesthetic reasons, or for convenience in handling.

Veterinarians would face a fine of up to $5,000 for a first offense and up to $10,000 for a second offense, in addition to suspension or revocation of a license.

The bill also prohibits any person, other than a veterinary practitioner performing a declawing procedure.

Some Delaware lawmakers are also itching to ensure that cats can keep scratching.

A bill introduced in the Delaware House on Thursday would prohibit cat owners from declawing their pets except for “therapeutic purposes.” That definition means addressing a physical or medical condition that compromises the health or well-being of a cat. It does not include cosmetic or aesthetic reasons, or reasons of convenience, like protecting your furniture.

It also does not include addressing or preventing potential medical problems in humans, such as cat-scratch fever.