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Santa Monica moves closer to cat declawing ban [Updated]

October 29, 2009 | 12:57 pm

Claw

After more than 2 1/2 hours of public discussion, the Santa Monica City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday night in favor of an ordinance that would ban cat declawing in the city. The proposed measure will have a second reading before a final vote is taken.

The ordinance, which is modeled on a similar ban in West Hollywood, would prohibit procuring, performing or assisting in performing onychectomy (declawing) or flexor tendonectomy except when necessary to address a medical condition of the cat.

Any person who violated the ordinance would be guilty of a misdemeanor and be fined $500 or less or be imprisoned for six months, or both.

The council rejected proposed amendments by Councilman Richard Bloom that would have allowed exceptions to the ban in cases where veterinarians determined the procedures to be a last-resort option to prevent abandonment, relinquishment or euthanasia, and after pet owners had been advised of nonsurgical alternatives. His amendments also would have prohibited declawing to be offered as a promotional or discounted service.

Bloom voted against the declawing ban. He said that he did not support the unnecessary declawing of cats but that he opposed the measure because he believed it would lead to an increase in unnecessary cat deaths through relinquishment and euthanasia.

The second reading, at which no further testimony will be heard, probably will take place within a couple of weeks. A change in state law preempts California municipalities from banning cat declawing procedures after Dec. 31.

Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities are also considering cat declawing bans. Earlier this month, the Malibu City Council opted not to enact a ban but asked staff to draft an ordinance that would oppose declawing in the city.

[Updated at 2:13 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said the second reading will be held in closed session. The reading and roll call vote will take place in public session Nov. 10.]

-- Anne Colby

Photo: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press

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