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Politics & Government

Pittsburgh City Council Takes Up Ban On Declawing Of Cats

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
Zoey, a 9-year-old cat living on the North Side, still has all of her claws.

Pittsburgh City Council has preliminarily approved legislation that would ban declawing cats within the city. Councilor Bobby Wilson introduced the legislation, which received a warm reception around the council table Wednesday.

Under the bill, declawing would only be permitted if medically necessary. Violators who are caught declawing a cat for any other reason could face up to a $500 fine, per cat.

Dan Rossi, CEO of the Humane Animal Rescue, told council that cats tend to be more aggressive after they have been declawed.

"The main reason individuals are surrendering declawed cats is because of behavioral issues that developed after the declawing," he said.

Declawing cats is not like clipping human nails, said Jennifer Conrad, who is a veterinarian.

"Unlike our nails, where the claw grows from skin, in order to remove the nail of a cat, you have to remove the bone," Conrad said. "It's done entirely for the convenience for keeping the animal. As a veterinarian, I went to vet school to protect cats, not couches. To me, it is one of the most inhumane surgeries on the list of things that veterinarians do, and I think veterinarians know better and want this to stop."

Experts also pointed out that when cats have been declawed, their main use of defense has been taken from them, which could lead to them biting — potentially causing wounds that are more infectious than a scratch.

Council is set to take a final vote on the bill next week.