After a bill won approval in an Assembly committee on Monday, New Jersey grew closer to becoming the first state to ban cat declawing.
Bill A3899 would charge veterinarians who declaw cats, and people who seek them out, a fine of up to $1,000 or six months in jail, according to NJ.com. Anyone who breaks the law also would face a civil penalty of $500 to $2,000.
Onychetomy, as the surgery to remove cats’ claws is known, would go on the list of criminal animal cruelty offenses. The article does mention exceptions for medical purposes.
People typically seek the procedure to protect their property from scratches or “because a cat has not learned how to play properly,” according to the post.
Many groups oppose the practice. The surgery removes the claw down to the distal phalanx, which declawing opponents compare to the top knuckle of human fingers. Some cats display character changes and discomfort when using the litter box after the procedure, supporters of the bill told the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.