H.B. 445: Animal welfare, prohibition on declawing cats
Sponsors: Democratic Dels. Lorig Charkoudian, Jim Gilchrist, Ariana B. Kelly, Lesley J. Lopez, David Moon, Emily Shetty and Vaughn Stewart (Montgomery County); Jon S. Cardin and Dana Stein (Baltimore County); Jessica Feldmark (Baltimore and Howard counties); Anne Healey and Julian Ivey (Prince George’s County); Brooke E. Lierman (Baltimore City); and Jen Terrasa (Howard County).
Synopsis: Prohibits a veterinarian from declawing a cat unless it’s for the cat’s health.
Analysis: The process of declawing a cat is more like an amputation than a manicure, requiring the removal of the toe bone at the joint closest to the claw, and often involves cutting through the foot pad beneath. It’s major surgery that’s opposed by the American Academy of Feline Practitioners and an excessive move to keep your furniture scratch free. This bill would threaten the licensing of any practitioner who performs the procedure. Given that veterinarians generally seek to help, not harm, animals, it seems they would be fine with the excuse to decline client requests to maim felines.
Editorial board recommendation: Pass.