Cat declawing ban passes unanimously in Denver

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A proposal to officially ban cat declawing in Denver was unanimously approved by city council on Monday night.

Declawing, or onychectomy, is an amputation and should be regarded as a major surgery, according to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. 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. (Since 2003, eight cities in that state have prohibited the act.) Public opinion was strongly behind the bill, though some pet owners objected, saying any pain experienced by cats who underwent the procedure was temporary.

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

But vets say they want the option to do so in case it's a health issue with the pet owner. In those special cases, Denver will allow the procedure.

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Jennifer Conrad, who pushed for the first US declawing ban more than a decade ago, in West Hollywood, founded the Paw Project.

"A decision to declaw a cat is affected by many human and animal factors", said Andre, a practicing veterinarian. Australia, Japan, Brazil, Israel and multiple countries in Europe also have similar bans.

Declawing, while it certainly stops cats from destroying furniture and rugs, removes the top third of a feline's digits. Backers of bans in California, however, point to statistics in those cities that show no spikes in cat intakes at shelters.

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