Following Advocacy from The Paw Project, Maryland Becomes Second U.S. State That Bans Animal Declawing

April 21, 2022

Kilgore News Herald

Written by The Paw Project

Animal Protection Nonprofit Spearheading Efforts to Enact Similar Legislation to End This Humane Practice throughout North America

ANNAPOLIS, Md.April 21, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The Paw Project – the leading animal protection nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about the inhumane and crippling effects of cat declawing and advocating for anti-declaw legislation – proudly announces that the inhumane practice of declawing animals has been banned in a second U.S. State.

Today, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan enacted legislation prohibiting elective, non-therapeutic declawing, effective October 1, 2022. He signed the following bills into law: SB67, sponsored by Sen. Cheryl C. Kagan (D-17) and HB22, sponsored by Del. Lorig Charkoudian, Ph.D. (D-20).

The law does not into effect until October 1.

“I am so appreciative of Gov. Hogan and honored to work with Del. Charkoudian and Sen. Kagan, who are true champions for animals,” said Jennifer Conrad, DVM, a veterinarian and the founder/director of the Paw Project. “Maryland can now consider itself one of the most humane states in the Union.”

Declawing is a surgical procedure in which the animal’s toes are amputated at the last joint. Part of the bone, not just the nail, is removed. It is analogous to cutting off the first knuckle on the human hand.

It is estimated that 23 million domestic cats (over 20 percent of all owned cats) are declawed in the United States. This highly invasive and painful surgery is performed primarily to protect furniture. It is widely recognized that declawing cats does not reduce health risks for humans with health issues. Recently published studies have shown that declawed cats are more likely to bite.

“Our beloved kitties, who cannot advocate for themselves, need us to protect them,” said Sen. Kagan. “I am so proud that Maryland will become just the second state to ban the cruel practice of declawing our cats. Del. Charkoudian and I are grateful to the Paw Project, the many humane organizations and pet lovers from across Maryland who contacted their legislators and helped to get this bill passed.”

Del. Charkoudian concurred, “I am thrilled that my colleagues have taken this important action to protect cats from this cruel and unnecessary practice. I am proud that Maryland is a leader in this effort and I hope all other states will follow.”

Declawing is already prohibited in the New York state, 13 U.S. cities (including West HollywoodBerkeleyBeverly HillsBurbankCulver CityLos AngelesSan Francisco and Santa Monica), and in eight of the 10 Canadian provinces. Anti-declaw legislation is currently being considered in CaliforniaNew JerseyMassachusettsWisconsinPennsylvania and Connecticut.

The practice of declawing any cat already is illegal or considered unethical in most of the world, including the UK, IrelandSwitzerlandGermanyAustriaSwedenAustraliaNew Zealand and NorwayGreat Britain’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has declared declawing to be “unnecessary mutilation.”

“We sincerely thank Gov. Hogan and the Maryland legislature for taking the momentous step to ban declawing,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of the Bethesda, Md.-based, Alley Cat Allies.

In addition to The Paw Project and Alley Cat Allies, the Humane Society of The United States, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, Maryland Votes for Animals, and veterinarians all over the world oppose the procedure.

California previously passed legislation to prohibit declawing of captive and wild exotic cats due to the Paw Project’s efforts. Veterinarians working with the nonprofit animal protection organization have developed and performed reparative surgery on lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, jaguars and domestic cats that had been maimed by declawing –yielding dramatic results. Enjoying relief for the first time after years of suffering, cats that could only hobble a few agonizing steps before reconstructive surgery, now are able to leap, run and play as nature intended.

About The Paw Project

The Paw Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1999 by veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Conrad to educate the public about the painful and crippling effects of feline declawing, promote animal welfare through the abolition of the practice of declaw surgery, and rehabilitate cats that have been declawed through reparative surgery. As a result of its efforts, declawing has been banned in seven Canadian Provinces and nine cities in the United States to date. For more information, visit