Berkeley Declaw Ban Is the Cats' Meow

By Jessica Greene
|  Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009  |  Updated 1:45 PM PDT
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Berkeley joined the cat-friendly club Tuesday.

The city council voted unanimously to ban the practice of declawing cats, making it a misdemeanor punishable by a fine or jail time.

Councilman Jesse Arreguin, who co-authored the law, calls the practice "horrific" and says most declawing is done only to benefit the owner.

Berkeley joins the ranks of 20 countries, including most of Europe, Brazil, Japan and Israel in banning declawing. In the United States, Norfolk, Virginia and West Hollywood have cat declawing bans.

San Francisco became the first major city in the country to ban cat declawing last week. Unless there's a medical reason for the procedure, people who violate the ban could face up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $1,000.

City council members in Beverly Hills voted unanimously last week to move forward with a similar ban.

The California Veterinary Medical Association opposes such bans, saying the decision should be made between the owner and veterinarian. Spokesman Carl Singer says there are some cases where declawing is preferable to putting the animal down.

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