Today's Law As Amended


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SB-585 Cats: declawing procedures: prohibition.(2021-2022)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 31755 is added to the Food and Agricultural Code, to read:

31755.
 (a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Cat” means an animal of the taxonomic family felidae, except an animal that is a member of an exotic or native wild cat species as defined in Section 597.6 of the Penal Code.
(2) “Declawing procedure” means an onychectomy, partial or complete phalangectomy, partial digital amputation, tendonectomy, or other procedure to alter a cat’s toes, claws, or paws to prevent the normal functioning of the cat’s toes, claws, or paws. “Declawing procedure” does not include the trimming of nonviable claw husk or placing nonpermanent nail caps.
(3) “Licensed veterinarian” means a person licensed as a veterinarian by the State of California.
(4) “Onychectomy” means a procedure in which a portion of the paw of a cat is amputated to remove or disable a claw, including, without limitation, procedures commonly referred to as declawing.
(5) “Partial digital amputation” means a procedure for the excision of some or all of one or more of the phalanges of the paw of a cat.
(6) “Phalangectomy” means a procedure for the excision of one or more of the phalanges of the paw of a cat.
(7) “Tendonectomy” means a procedure in which the tendons to the limbs, paws, or toes of a cat are cut or modified so that the cat’s claws cannot function normally.
(8) “Therapeutic purpose” means for the purpose of addressing an existing or recurring infection, disease, injury, or abnormal condition in the claw that jeopardizes the cat’s health and only when addressing that infection, disease, injury, or abnormal condition is determined by a licensed veterinarian to be a medical necessity. “Therapeutic purpose” does not include cosmetic or aesthetic purposes or the purpose of making a cat more convenient to keep or handle.
(b) (1) Except as specified in paragraph (2), a person shall not remove or disable a cat’s claws by performing a declawing procedure.
(2) This subdivision does not apply to a phalangectomy performed solely for a therapeutic purpose.
(c) (1) If a licensed veterinarian determines that it is necessary to perform a phalangectomy for a therapeutic purpose, the licensed veterinarian, on or before 10 business days after performing the phalangectomy, shall file a written statement, including the corresponding independent laboratory pathology report confirming the pathology, with the Veterinary Medical Board.
(2) The written statement shall include the purpose for performing the phalangectomy, identifying information for the cat, including its age, gender, markings, and microchip number, if applicable, a photo of the cat’s face, and the name, current address, and current phone number of the owner or keeper of the cat.
(3) The licensed veterinarian shall provide a copy of the written statement to the owner or keeper of the cat.
(d) (1) A violation of subdivision (b) is punishable by the following:
(A) For the first violation, a civil penalty of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).
(B) For the second violation, a civil penalty of at least one thousand dollars ($1,000), but not more than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500).
(C) For the third or subsequent violation, a civil penalty of at least one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500), but not more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).
(2) A violation of subdivision (c) is punishable by a civil penalty of not more than two hundred dollars ($200).
(3) A violation of this section by a licensed veterinarian shall constitute unprofessional conduct.
(e) Upon determining a licensed veterinarian potentially violated subdivision (b), a person, including an entity enforcing this section, shall notify the Veterinary Medical Board of the potential violation. Notwithstanding Section 9, a violation of this requirement is not a crime and is not subject to any civil or criminal penalty.
(f) The Attorney General, a city attorney, or a county counsel may bring an action to impose a civil penalty pursuant to this section.
(g) A civil penalty imposed pursuant to this section shall be deposited into the General Fund if the action is brought by the Attorney General. If the action is brought by a city attorney, the civil penalty shall be paid to the treasurer of the city in which the judgment is entered. If the action is brought by a county counsel, the civil penalty shall be paid to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment is entered.
(h) This section does not preempt any local ordinance prohibiting a declawing procedure, or similar conduct, or imposing a more severe penalty for performing a declawing procedure or similar conduct.