It's Now Illegal to Declaw a Cat in Denver

Lester Mason
November 15, 2017

The city of Denver officially banned the practice of cat declawing during Monday night's council meeting.

Declawing occurs in a procedure known as onychectomy.

9 News reports that during the surgery, all or most of the last bone of each of the 10 front toes is removed, and tendons, nerves and ligaments that allow for normal function of the paw are severed. Cats may also have to be declawed for medical reasons. Others said the ban would impact cat adoption rates.

Kirsten Butler, a veterinary technician, said she no longer participates in the procedures.

Declawing, while it certainly stops cats from destroying furniture and rugs, removes the top third of a feline's digits.


The local impetus for a ban is Denver veterinarian Aubrey Lavizzo, the local leader of the Paw Project, who persuaded Black to push for it.

Eight cities in California, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have passed bans on declawing. Declawing bans are also common in most of Europe.

The ban, which covers procedures called onychectomies and tendonectomies, would apply only within city limits, leaving suburban veterinarians free to offer elective declawings to Denver pet owners.

While critics worry that the action could result in people surrendering more cats to shelters, supporters note that California cities who have similar legislation in place have not seen spikes in cat intakes at shelters.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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