L.A. may ban declawing of cats

LOS ANGELES, Calif. The Los Angeles City County unanimously approved a proposed ordinance Friday to do just that. The vote follows a similar action by the Beverly Hills City Council a day earlier.

A final vote in both cities is expected Nov. 17.

Los Angeles is trying to beat a Jan. 1 deadline when a new state law stops cities from passing anti-declawing ordinances.

Opponents of the practice call it cruel and unnecessary.

"The bottom line is you take the claws out of a cat you take away the cat because a cat needs these claws to live like a cat does," said Councilman Bill Rosendahl.

Santa Monica recently passed a law against declawing, and city of West Hollywood outlawed declawing in 2003.

The California Veterinary Medical Association believes pet owners should make their own decisions.

But nobody from the association testified at Friday's hearing, there were only opponents of declawing.

"Declawing a cat is like taking a cigar cutter and cutting off the first bone in any one of the cat's toes," said Jennifer Conrad, a veterinarian.

Councilman Tony Cardenas held up a bumper sticker to illustrate the point. Early on in the debate, it was clear that opponents of a ban on declawing were going to lose.

"But as cities around Los Angeles get involved in this, if they don't get it done by Jan. 1, the state laws are going to ban them from doing this, and I think it should be a state law not just a local law," said Councilman Dennis Zine. His statement was followed by enthusiastic applause.

Councilman Paul Koretz worked on the West Hollywood ban, the first ban of its kind in the nation. He says the Los Angeles law is self enforcing.

"In this case, vets will not want to jeopardize their licenses," said Koretz.

There still has to be one more vote, but to meet the Jan. 1 state deadline, the new ordinance will take effect as an emergency.

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