March 11, 2022
Maryland’s House of Delegates passed a bill Thursday that would make the process of declawing cats illegal unless it’s needed to resolve a medical condition.
House Bill 0022 passed with a 112-25 majority, which would make declawing — the removal of a cat’s claws — illegal for a veterinarian to perform.
According to the legislation, any animal physician found performing the procedure would face a $5,000 fine for a first offense and up to a $10,000 fine for a second offense. In addition, the veterinarian will have their license suspended or revoked.
Supporters said declawing is painful and inhumane for a cat. State Sen. Cheryl Kagan, who introduced similar legislation in the Maryland Senate, told lawmakers in February that declawing or lasering a cat’s claws off would cause multiple health problems.
Those issues include “limping, lifelong pain, problems using a litter box and (the cat’s ability in) defending itself.”
“[It] not just taking off and doing a little manicure and then trimming their nails, it’s actually removing the first knuckle of their paws,” said Kagan, D-Montgomery.
The state Senate passed Kagan’s legislation with a 32-14 vote in February.
Both chambers must approve one of the bills before the measure heads to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk for final approval.