Aug
13
2003

They may have won a pivotal battle, but the California Veterinary Medical Association continues its war on the many proposed feline declawing bans across the state.

Following the recent failure of such proposals in Malibu, Calif., and the California State Legislature, the CVMA considered pursuing a repeal of the West Hollywood ban, which was approved. But, the association decided it was more important to focus on putting out the many declawing wild fires springing up around the state, said Dr. Dick Schumacher, CVMA executive director.

Currently, the CVMA is taking stands against bans proposed in San Francisco and Berkley. Schumacher said the association takes a proactive approach by scanning city government dockets for new ban proposals. It then sends out information packets presenting the veterinary viewpoint to the community governments. The veterinarians in the affected community are contacted and encouraged to participate in the government hearings.

Those seeking the bans operate on an emotional level, Schumacher said, while the medical community needs to help lawmakers separate the emotion issues from the medical facts. Giving a clear explanation about why declawing is performed and how the decision is reached can help refute ban proponents’ charge of animal abuse, Schumacher said. Providing documentation that the veterinarian has consulted with the owner about non-surgical options and other considerations helps to answer many of the concerns presented in the ban proposals, he added.

Most lawmakers don’t realize that cats are often abandoned or euthanized because owners can’t tolerate the animal’s scratching habits. “I don’t think (the lawmakers) really want to euthanize more cats,” Schumacher said.

While anti-declawing campaigns in California have garnered the most attention in the media, Schumacher stressed they are not unique to that state. He advises colleagues to be aware of laws being proposed in their communities and take a proactive stand. The CVMA is willing to share tips with colleagues outside of California, including the information packet it has developed. If you are interested, contact Lori Gentner at lgentner@cvma.net. You can also contact the CVMA through its website at www.cvma.net.

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