A proposed bill that would ban declawing cats was unanimously passed at a Denver City Council meeting in Colorado on Monday.
WUSA reported that the ordinance is effective immediately.
Declawing occurs in a procedure known as onychectomy. In the operation, an animal’s claws are removed and most or all of the last bone of each of the front toes of an animal is removed. Nerves, tendons and ligaments are severed.
“Onychectomy is an amputation and should be regarded as a major surgery,” according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. The Humane Society of the United States says the effects of the surgery can include death of tissue, paw pain, infection, back pain, lameness and death.
According to The Denver Post, practicing veterinarian Casara Andre said declawing can be performed in a way that prevents pain for the pet, although she opposes the surgery as a routine operation.
“A decision to declaw a cat is affected by many human and animal factors,” Andre said at a public hearing Nov. 6. “The well-being of the animal and their human family is best defended by providing owners with education about alternatives to declawing, appropriate training for family cats, and well-informed discussions between that pet owner and their veterinary medicine provider.”
Kirsten Butler, a veterinary technician, said she no longer participates in the procedures.
“Having run anesthesia on declaw procedures, I can tell you it is an awkward and disheartening feeling to keep something alive while it is mutilated in front of you,” she said at the hour-long hearing.
Eight cities in California, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have passed bans on declawing. Australia, Japan, Brazil, Israel and multiple countries in Europe also have similar bans.
Alternatives to declawing include regular trimming of cat’s claws, stable scratching posts around the home, soft plastic caps for the cat’s nails and a special tape that can deter cats from scratching furniture.