Legislation outlawing cat declawing up for final passage in Illinois House
Violators would face an Illinois Department of Agriculture fine of $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for a second violation.
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A proposal in Springfield would make it illegal to declaw cats.
The procedure is usually performed by owners who want to protect their furniture or avoid being scratched themselves.
House Bill 1533 is sponsored by State Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, and would make it a finable offense to surgically remove a cat’s claws and ban any other surgical process that would alter a cat’s paws. The measure is up for final passage in the Illinois House before it could be sent to the Senate.
“It’s really hurtful and it can damage the behavior of the animal as well,” Hernandez said during a recent House Agriculture Committee hearing. “If it's a cat that is roaming around the streets, it is now defenseless.”
Anyone caught declawing a cat would be subject to an Illinois Department of Agriculture fine of $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for a second violation.
State Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville, said the measure will force some pet owners to give up their cats.
“A cat that has been raised and nurtured in a house for most of its life will maybe now be thrown outside,” Meier said. “They won’t last long out there, even if it does have claws.”
The Illinois Humane Society brought the bill to Hernandez in January, she said.
“Declawed cats do tend to bite more, and so the concern from us and medical experts is that a bite is worse than a scratch,” said Marc Ayers, Illinois state director of the Humane Society.
New York was the first state to ban the procedure in 2019, followed by Maryland in 2022.
The bill passed out of the Agriculture and Conservation Committee and is headed to the House floor.
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