Posted: May 19, 2023 –
New Hampshire House Bill 231 which would ban cat declawing was heard on the Senate floor today. After a short debate, Senate President Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) ruled to kill the bill despite the overwhelming shouts to formally vote on the bill.
Senator Howard Pearl (R-Loudon) opposed the bill and said “House Bill 231 is looking to impose regulations when in reality (declawing) is not an issue in New Hampshire.” New Hamphire cats might disagree.
Many veterinarians supported the ban on declawing. New Hampshire veterinarian Karen Campbell in an opinion piece published in the Keene Sentinel wrote “many veterinarians are guilted into performing unethical surgeries at the behest of their human clients. And without legislation banning the procedure, clients simply shop around until they find a veterinarian willing to comply.”
Senator Daryl Abbas (R-Salem) opposed the motion to table saying “I love cats.” Senator Debra Altschiller (D-Stratham) also opposed the motion to table saying “Only 20 people oppose this bill and 123 citizens reached out in support of House Bill 231 now ask us to vote against that tabling motion,” and cited the many veterinary organizations who strongly oppose declawing.
After listening to the NOES and AYES, Sen. Bradley, with some hesitancy, said “the AYES (to kill the bill), in my opinion, have it.” In response, Mike Bordes (R-Belknap), the primary author of the bill, said, “Senator Bradley did not preside correctly, and the nays were definitively louder than the yeas. This decision will continue to harm our beloved felines. The decision by Senator Bradley basically states that New Hampshire is ok with animal cruelty, which in my view is not where the majority of New Hampshire citizens stand.”
Veterinarian Jennifer Conrad, founder and director of the Paw Project says, “I believe that the the majority of New Hampshire’s citizens want their cats to be protected from the cruel and unnecessary surgical toe amputation called ‘declawing.’ The New Hampshire House voted overwhelmingly in support of a declaw ban and it sounds to me, and anyone with decent hearing, that the Senate concurred today. Why Senator Jeb Bradley can’t hear that fact is a mystery. If it’s because he wanted the bill not to progress, does he realize he’s not only condoning, but promoting, animal cruelty?”
Crystal Heath, a shelter veterinarian and executive director of the non-profit Our Honor says, “we have decades of evidence to show that declaw bans protect cats, veterinarians and the public.” Regarding the harms of declawing, Heath points to a 2017 study showing declawed cats were more than four times more likely to bite, three times more likely to be aggressive, nearly three times more likely to have back pain, three times more likely to excessively self-groom, and seven times more likely to avoid the litter box. Heath says these are “all behaviors that could lead to cats being relinquished to the shelter or euthanized.”
Declawing has already been banned in Maryland and New York. More than 40 other countries have also outlawed declawing. Representative Bordes says he will introduce the bill again next year. (source: Crystal Heath, DVM)