Pittsburgh City Councilman Bobby Wilson Passes Legislation to Protect Cats from being Declawed


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PITTSBURGH, PA (September 28, 2021) — Pittsburgh City Councilman Bobby Wilson (District 1) passed legislation this week to protect cats from being declawed in the City of Pittsburgh.

The passage of this legislation makes the City of Pittsburgh the first government in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to ban non-therapeutic declawing of cats. Pittsburgh joins other major American cities, including Austin, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Culver City, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica, St. Louis, and West Hollywood, and the State of New York, in prohibiting non-therapeutic declawing of cats.

“I want to thank local Humane Society of the United States Humane Policy Leaders Carol Whaley and Tara Czekaj for their passionate support of my bill at Council,” said Councilman Wilson. “I’m also very appreciative of the subject matter testimony that Dr. Jennifer Conrad and Jackson Galaxy provided to City Council during our deliberation on this bill. Finally, I am thankful to my fellow Councilmembers Bruce Kraus and Anthony Coghill for their support and co-sponsorship of this precedent-setting legislation.”

This legislation recognizes that declawing is the amputation of all or part of the last phalanx in cats’ toes to remove their claws to inhibit natural scratching behavior. Declaw critics have labeled this procedure as inhumane, unnecessary, and cruel. Alternatives to cat declawing include capping a cat's nails with nail caps, regularly trimming cats’ nails, and providing ample appropriate scratching surfaces to cats.

“Behavioral problems frequently result from declawing, including biting and litterbox aversion due to pain and ongoing physical trauma from the procedure. Declawed cats with behavioral problems often end up relinquished to local animal shelters, contributing to an already exhausted Pittsburgh shelter system. Passing this legislation is an important step to not only protect cats, but to prevent further stress and compassion fatigue on shelter workers and volunteers,” said Carol Whaley.

“I also look forward to the progress of Pennsylvania House Bill 1624,” Councilman Wilson added. “This state legislation would further equip us to protect cats from non-therapeutic declawing. Until then, I am proud that the City of Pittsburgh is leading on this issue in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."

For press inquiries, please contact Councilman Wilson’s Legislative Aide, Mohammed Burny, at (412) 215-0528 or mohammed.burny@pittsburghpa.gov.

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