Clawing Back

Is Santa Barbara interested in promoting animal welfare? Does the inhumane treatment of animals merit the time and attention of Santa Barbara’s City Council? Currently the city allows the declawing of cats. All veterinarians perform the surgery; the cost varies from $300-$900.

Declawing is a surgical procedure that amputates the animal’s toes at the last joint, severing the tendons, nerves, and ligaments that enable a cat to function normally. Cat’s claws and the bones and cartilage that hold them in place allow cats to balance, climb, and defend themselves. Declawing is a painful and crippling procedure with no benefit to the animal, done primarily to protect furniture. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals “does not approve of the declawing of cats as a matter of supposed convenience to cat owners. It is a form of mutilation and it causes pain.” The American Veterinary Medical Association does not condone it. The USDA, the governing body over animals that are exhibited, bred, or sold, prohibits it. Declawing a cat is illegal and considered inhumane in 38 countries worldwide.

Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Culver City, Beverly Hills, Burbank, West Hollywood, and Berkeley have all passed resolutions condemning declawing.

Petition signatures and council meeting testimony are easy for city officials to ignore; phone calls have to be answered. Take one minute of your time to make a call, (805) 963-0611, and ask to speak with a city councilmember staffer. The message is simple: “Please pass a resolution condemning declawing.” Be prepared to hear: “The city is not in a position to commit the staff resources necessary to conduct research and analysis necessary for the City Council to decide on a formal position.” The reply is a simple question: “Would you like to have your fingers and toes cut off?”

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