Today's Law As Amended

PDF |Add To My Favorites | print page

AB-1230 Veterinary medicine: declawing animals.(2019-2020)

As Amends the Law Today

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares as follows:
(1) Declawing (onychectomy) and tendonectomy are veterinary surgical procedures that have irreversible negative effects on the animals that undergo these procedures.
(2) Declawing has been associated with unintended behavioral consequences, including aggression and biting, according to studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, which also found that the “use of optimal surgical technique does not eliminate the risk of adverse behavior subsequent to onychectomy.”
(3) The American Veterinary Medical Association states that tendonectomy is not recommended to prevent an animal from using its claws destructively.
(4) Declawing does not save the lives of animals nor guarantee them homes. The American Association of Feline Practitioners states, “There is no current peer-reviewed data definitively proving that cats with destructive behavior are more likely to be euthanized, abandoned or relinquished. The decision of whether or not to declaw should not be impacted by these considerations.”
(5) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and other human health authorities do not advise the declawing of cats owned by persons who have medical conditions that impair their immune systems.
(6) Safe and effective methods for preventing animals from using their claws destructively do exist.
(7) Declawing is illegal or considered unethical by the veterinary profession in much of the rest of the world. Declawing is prohibited in the California cities of Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Culver City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood. Declawing is also prohibited by law in Denver, Colorado, and the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia. The veterinary associations in several Canadian provinces, including British Columbia and Nova Scotia, prohibit veterinarians practicing in those provinces from performing declawing or tendonectomy procedures.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to prohibit a person from performing nontherapeutic declawing or related procedures that do not treat a physical medical condition affecting the animal.

SEC. 2.

 Section 4832 is added to the Business and Professions Code, to read:

 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, a person shall not perform a declawing on any cat or other animal unless both of the following conditions are satisfied:
(1) The person is licensed as a veterinarian pursuant to this chapter.
(2) The veterinarian is performing the declawing for a therapeutic purpose.
(b) Whenever a veterinarian determines that declawing is necessary for a therapeutic purpose, the veterinarian shall record the therapeutic purpose in the animal’s medical record.
(c) A veterinarian who fails to comply with this section shall be subject to discipline by the board, which shall make a determination as to whether or not to revoke the veterinarian’s license.
(d) For purposes of this section:
(1) “Declawing” means any of the following:
(A) An onychectomy, dactylectomy, phalangectomy, partial digital amputation, or any other surgical procedure in which a portion of an animal’s paw is amputated to remove the animal’s claw.
(B) A tendonectomy, or surgical procedure in which the tendons of an animal’s limbs, paws, or toes are cut or modified so that the claws cannot be extended.
(C) Any other procedure that prevents the normal functioning of an animal’s claws.
(2) “Therapeutic purpose” means for the purpose of necessity to address a physical medical condition of the animal such as an existing or recurring illness, infection, disease, injury, or abnormal condition in the animal’s claw that compromises the animal’s health. “Therapeutic purpose” does not mean cosmetic or aesthetic reasons or reasons of convenience in keeping or handling the animal.
SEC. 3.
 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.