Beverly Hills Moves Toward Declaw Ban

Beverly Hills is closing in on passing a city ordinance to ban the practice of declawing in cats.

Beverly Hills is the latest California city to push for an ordinance that would ban cat declawing. The City Council gave initial approval with a 5-0 vote Nov. 5. A second vote is expected Nov. 17, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Beverly Hills is following Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Malibu and Berkley in trying to get declaw ordinances passed and enacted before Dec. 31. The hard push is to avoid Senate Bill 762, which takes effect Jan. 1. SB 762 was signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on July 2 and, in short, will not allow cities and counties to pass ordinances banning medical procedures.

The legislation, supported by the California Veterinary Medical Assn., was in response to West Hollywood’s 2003 ban on the procedure. The CVMA contends that standards for medical professionals should be uniform statewide.

According to the CVMA’s position statement: “The decision to declaw a cat should be made by the owner in consultation with their veterinarian. The declawing of cats may become necessary for medical or behavioral reasons and should be used instead of abandonment or euthanasia.”

Anti-declaw groups such as The Paw Project say the procedure causes crippling effects and has no long-term therapeutic benefit for the animal or cat owner.

The organization unveiled a billboard in West Hollywood as part of a campaign to make “people realize that declawing is inhumane and should be illegal.” The billboard, which may be displayed in other cities, depicts a human hand with each finger severed at the last joint. The organization said the picture is an anatomically correct representation of the declaw surgery performed on cats.

The Los Angeles City Council approved a declaw ban Nov. 6 and will conduct a second reading Nov. 17, the Los Angeles Times reported. Malibu will consider a resolution Nov. 9 after the City Council voted down a motion for a declaw ban.

The Santa Monica City Council will hold a second reading Nov. 10, the same day Berkeley votes on a declaw ban. A second reading of San Francisco's proposed ban is pending.

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