Resolution Against Cat Declawing

For the past 18 months, Carpinteria’s residents have advocated the city pass a legally nonbinding resolution against cat declawing, an inhumane amputation of an animal’s toes at the last joint. But, phoning city hall, residents were told: “The law doesn’t allow us to do that” and “Legally, there is nothing we can do.” This is not correct.

An ordinance is a law adopted by the city council. A resolution is not a law; it is a formal expression of opinion or intention of the city council. Under current state law, the City of Carpinteria can’t ban declawing, but there is no law that prevents a California city, or any other U.S. city from passing a resolution against declawing.

On November 20, 2014, Carpinteria’s paper, Coastal View News, ran an article, “Cat declawing decried as inhumane,” that echoed the identical misinformation city officials and staffers had been telling residents. The paper decided to correct only two of the article’s three false statements, leaving the misstatement of fact — that current law prohibits cities in California from passing anti-declaw resolutions — stating that Carpinteria’s city manager said the city can’t ban declawing.

Animal welfare advocates in Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Solvang, and Ojai now believe something that is not true. The truth is that there is no law that prevents or prohibits any city in the United States from passing a resolution against declawing.

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