Malibu City Council Votes Against Ban on Cat Declawing

by Michael
(London, UK)

This is what CVMA President Dr. Mark Nunez said at the Malibu City Council meeting against a ban on declawing:

“We are opposed to a ban on declawing,” testified Dr. Nunez. “We do not want to see cats declawed routinely. We do believe that it is an option of last resort. We believe that this should be a decision between a cat owner and their veterinarian. The decision should be made by the professionals; it should not be made in the City Council chambers.”

This is my analysis of it:

We are opposed to a ban on declawing

This is because a ban on declawing would substantially erode the income base of vets in California. It is their bread and butter. It feeds them and their families. He does not say this. He is trying to give the impression that their vets are caring gentle souls with a heart!

We do not want to see cats declawed routinely

What codswallop! However, notice that he says “we do not want to see..” He is not saying we don’t do it routinely. In fact it could be argued that this statement implies that it is happening routinely. And it is, 20 million times!

We do believe that it is an option of last resort

Why then is the operation carried out by most of your vets as a routine first option?

We believe that this should be a decision between a cat owner and their veterinarian.

Of course. This way your vets can smooth talk a poor innocent client into having the operation carried out. “It won’t hurt…” Don’t worry..” Blah Blah Blah..

The decision should be made by the professionals

Yes agreed. Unfortunately your vets are not professionals at making decisions that are for the betterment of a cat’s health. Your vets are very professional at making decisions that enlarge their bank balances.

…it should not be made in the City Council chambers

As vets refuse to treat cats properly in compliance with their oath and for cats’ welfare it must fall upon legislative bodies to stop the brutality.

Malibu City Council lacks the balls to do the right thing. Period and they seem to have actually believed Dr. Nunez.

From Malibu City Council Votes Against Ban on Cat Declawing to Declawing Cats

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Malibu City Council Votes Against Ban on Cat Declawing

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Oct 28, 2009 A response to Dr. Nunez from Michele Speirs in the UK
by: Anonymous

Dr. Nunez, having read the CVMA’s article of 12th October referring to Malibu City Council’s vote against a ban declawing, I was rather perplexed by the following comment.

“Sharon Barovsky, Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem, challenged some of the points made by those proposing a declaw ban. Ms. Barovsky said she had done some research and that, although it had been asserted that many European countries banned declawing, in fact none of them did.”

Speaking as a British citizen who has also lived in several European countries I am at a total loss to comprehend why Ms. Barovsky would make a false statement such as the one above. I did actually write to Ms Barovsky to enquire what “research” had led her to this conclusion. It came as no surprise that she was unable to provide me with any information to back up her statement.

Declawing IS banned by ALL member states of the E.U. under Article 10, Clause 1 of the “European Convention for the Protection of Animals”, 13th November 1987.

It is also classed as a “mutilation” in the UK and banned under the “Animal Welfare Act” 2006.

Declawing is only ever permitted in Europe on medical grounds for the benefit of the cat’s health, which is why declawed cats are non-existent here. These countries all have citizens with babies, young children, compromised immune systems and nice furnishings etc., but veterinarians and animal shelters do much to educate the public about natural cat behaviour and how effective appropriate training is.

Long before declawing was legally banned in the U.K. vets refused to perform the procedure. In fact, Appendix B in the report on animal mutilations prepared by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) which was endorsed and accepted by Council June 1986/February 1987, stated the following regarding the removal of claws;

“This procedure is only acceptable where, in the opinion of the veterinary surgeon, injury to the animal is likely to occur during normal activity. It is not acceptable if carried out for the convenience of the owner. Thus the removal of dew claws in certain breeds of dog where they protrude from the limb and are likely to become caught and torn is justifiable and even advisable. On the other hand, the removal of claws, particularly those which are weight-bearing, to preclude damage to furnishings is not acceptable.”

It’s time that the CVMA and the AVMA stopped pretending that declawing is only ever offered as a last resort procedure.

Since vets cannot be trusted to put animal welfare ahead of owner convenience and financial gain, a ban on declawing is the only way forward.

Oct 28, 2009 One is too many
by: Susan

Dr. Nunez,

Although it sounds like you educate more than most vets, in my opinion, “just” de-knuckling, crippling, maiming, & mutilating one cat, is one too many cats. She may not have any obvious physical consequences, yet, but that does not justify what has been taken from her, essential claws – the essence & emotions of a cat.

You are an animal doctor. You’re commitment is to the animals. By saying no to all de-knuckling, you are advocating for all cats, being their voice, which is your job, your oath, as a veterinarian. We count on you to do what is in the best interest of the animal, always, not the human. Every time a vet de-claws a cat, it sends the message that possessions are more valuable than living, breathing animals, creating a disturbing “disposable pet” attitude.

Please lead the way for the cats on this and support the bans, which are needed, to stop the rampant laziness & greed of unkind humans in our country. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best, “Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Laws may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.”

It’s time we join the rest of the progressive countries where this is unethical and/or illegal. Mutilating healthy cat paws is animal cruelty, plain & simple. All of these countries have people with blood disorders, furniture, children, elderly, etc & don’t mutilate their cats to accomodate the human. They chose the alternatives like nail trimming to manage the claws. Kindness to animals spreads to kindness to humans & creates a kinder nation, as Gandi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

I for one am ashamed to be an American when it comes to how casually & routinely de-knuckling is done to our cats (it’s estimated that 65-95% of all cats in my city are knuckle-less & the rate of relinquishment of these animals is huge).

Please help end this atrocity, you have a powerful voice to do so. Thank You kindly!

Oct 28, 2009 A Response to Dr. Nunez
by: Jo Singer

First I would like to thank you for joining in on the discussion and taking the time to share your views on a very emotionally charged topic.

If there were more veterinarians like you, who did take the time to explain the procedure to their clients, to offer alternatives and give kittens and cats the opportunity to prove that they will use scratching posts, and trees and not destroy furniture, etc., then perhaps the need for an across the boards ban might not be so pressing.

I totally agree with the poster who said that if she randomly called 100 vets that she would be given an appointment for declaw surgery on the spot, without any explanation or details about how the surgery is performed. It is so routinely done in my area in Florida, along with neutering and spaying as a “package deal” without even knowing if the kitten or cat has displayed any aggressive or destructive behavior. For the life of me I cannot understand why people would get cats in the first place and love their furniture more than these wonderful felines.

While you are one of the lucky ones with a declawed cat that has not displayed negative behavior, 40% of declawed cats do develop unacceptable behaviors and are frequently surrendered to shelters. These cats, with a reputation of biting or inappropriate elimination are not highly desirable for rehoming. They are euthanized.. young.. healthy cats who often were not even given a chance to prove their ability to use alternatives.

I recently visited a clinic in my area to purchase some cat food, and heard a receptionist on the phone making an appointment for a kitten to be neutered. The receptionist offered the option of declawing at the time of the neutering knowing nothing about the kitten, and actually sold the surgery on the spot. I was disgusted and immediately left the clinic, not purchasing anything of course.

If the AVMA is stressing that declawing should be a LAST resort, it seems to me that there are too many practitioners offering it as a FIRST resort and something needs to be done about this.

Again, thank you for your comment this morning.

Oct 28, 2009 I will not buy into your hype.
by: Everycat

Dr Nunez, it’s all very well you telling us about your personal approach to dissuading individual clients from mutilating their cats, however, you are but one vet.

I can guarantee that if I randomly selected 100 vets in America, telephoned their offices pretending to be the owner of two ten week old kittens, that every single one of those offices would book my pretend kittens in for routine Onychectomy within 2 weeks. I would not be given a true explanation of the surgery, I would not be given an accurate description of the surgery nor would any of my concerns about the deleterious effect of the surgery be dealt with by honest appraisal of the pain levels/recovery times/complication rates/behavioural changes that this elective mutilation brings to cats. I would not be asked about my efforts to train the kittens,I would not be offered training in how to trim feline claws, I would not be offered behavioural training. I would receive no suggestion that declawing is anything other than just a routine, run of the mill procedure that is little more than “getting kitty a permanent manicure”.

Mr Nunez, until the vets of America and Canada own up to the immense failings of their profession in matters of ethics, no vet (other than you?) is going to stop offering routine Onychectomy to any client who asks for it. If we wait for the change through education that all you pro-declaw hypocrites are demanding, then we and millions of cats will be waiting until the very end of time.

Your profession is corrupt at it’s most base level. Your profession is dishonest, greedy and worst of all, cowardly – because not one of you is willing or able to accept the failings of modern veterinary practice in America.

I call you out Mr Nunez.

Oct 28, 2009 To Dr Nunez
by: Barbara

Thanks for joining us,at least this shows that you are willing to find out what we are all so upset about and why the decision in Malibu shocked and saddened us.

Your own practice of counselling cat owners against declawing is admirable and if all your colleagues acted as responsibly then there wouldn’t be a problem, but the reality Mr Nunez is that, apparently unknown to you, every single day in surgeries across the US kittens & cats are being routinely declawed by vets at the request of owners who aren’t prepared to accept the animal they have adopted as it comes.

Now if someone gets a kitten and intends to declaw it at the same time as neutering it how does this come under last resort? Why do some practices offer discount packages of neuter/declaw and why do conversations like this take place on internet groups?

You will note if you read it that withholding pain relief is being discussed and that this happens with the knowledge of vets. This particular instance may be in Ohio but I assure you it is typical of the sort of thing you would be able to read everyday had you the time to look at such sites. (I could gladly supply you with links to such sites).

In an ideal world vets and owners would put the welfare and comfort of the cat ahead of the leather suite but it isn’t happening Mr Nunez. It is not happening!

Oct 28, 2009 To Mr Nunez
by: Ruth aka Kattaddorra

Hello Dr Nunez, you are speaking for yourself I know and I’m glad you have only declawed one cat in 2 years but you are the exception rather than the rule. How many vets adhere to the AVMA recommendation that declawing should be a last resort procedure? Not many!

We hear every day of neuter/declaw packages on offer, discount coupons for declawing, receptionists offering declawing when clients phone in to book a kitten in for neutering. That is hardly last resort !

As for cat owners who may have an immunocompromised disease or very elderly people, we manage nicely in the UK with our clawed cats along with these people, as well as with our babies, children, dogs, furniture, and all the other excuses people make to have their cats mutilated!

My own late mother had very delicate skin due to prolonged steroid treatment, she was never injured once by her cats, yet a neighbour’s dog tore the flesh on her arm and caused her a bad injury. Should the dogs of all these immunocompromised and elderly people have been declawed too? No of course not, they should be supervised around the person, just as our cats are in our country.

Even before declawing was banned here I don’t know of any vet who would ever declaw a cat for any reason at all but for the cat’s benefit, a badly diseased toe for example, then the ONE toe would be amputated, not all the toe ends.

When I found out declawing still happens in the USA I wrote to every state head vet, the ones who replied referred me to the AVMA policy that it should be a last resort but one added that they encouraged people to have kittens declawed at an early age. Hardly last resort!

At present there is an 8 week old kitten, the owner says is destroying EVERYTHING in the house! I mean, come on, 8 weeks old destroying EVERYTHING?

A vet tech gives her advice about declawing saying it’s a good idea, she herself was scratched once and her cats are always declawed. So this 8 week old kitten, hardly old enough to leave his mother is to be deprived of his rightful claws for life, because of the ignorance of his owner and bad advice from a vet tech!

Surely when we work with animals we know they bite and scratch with fear and pain? I myself have been scratched many times but I would never want any cat to suffer at least 10 amputations because of that!

Because there is no way to reach all cat owners to educate them to the truth of declawing and because many vets make it easy to have kittens and cats declawed, many of us feel the only way to stop this is by having it made illegal.

If all vets were honest and followed their oath to help animals, not to harm them, this wouldn’t be necessary!

Oct 28, 2009 Thanks for joining the discussion
by: Michael (PoC Admin)

Hi, Mark Nunez and thanks very much for joining the discussion. There are a lot of angry and sad people who care deeply about cats and their welfare who are sickened by vets generally in the USA in respect their attitude to delawing. I can only speak for myself on this occasion.

You yourself may be a vet who dislikes declawing. You don’t oppose it. However, vets generally are not so reluctant to carry out the procedure (and some give discount coupons!) and that is why it is carried out for non-therapeutic reasons most times, almost all the time. Vets cannot be trusted to make the right decisions when it comes to declawing. And the associations know it.

Vets generally created this situation and it is wrong. And the associations let it happen. Why aren’t you stopping these vets? You are a leader and spokesperson and it is up to you to stop it and direct your vets to change their ways.

You failed in that purpose. And in doing so you failed to uphold the principles of the veterinarian profession – to improve the health of animals.

Why do you think the councils are passing legislation? This is a desperate last measure to stop the vets declawing for non therapeutic reasons. It is a very odd thing to see. But the public through their local legislators and managers are speaking.

In a better world the veterinary associations would better manage their members and provide much tighter guidelines. They have failed and in fact seem to employ weasel words to encourage it.

What I dislike about what you did at the council meeting is that you supported vets who declaw for entirely the wrong reasons. This is a known situation.

If your vets always did the correct thing and actively discouraged declawing and only did it very rarely for medical reasons then you could stand up at a meeting with confidence and say what you said but they simply don’t do this.

I am not saying that you are a bad person or a bad vet but I am saying that in my opinion you make bad decisions as a spokesperson and these decisions hurt cats.

Oct 27, 2009 declawing cats
by: Mark Nunez

I would first like to thank you for having this discussion. It saddens me however to hear so many people judging me without even knowing me. For the record over the past 2 years I have declawed a total of 1 cat. Her name is Jasmine and Jasmine recovered just fine without any longterm complications and the owners are very much in love with her and will do anything needed for her care. You should also know that every single week I am asked by a client to have their cat declawed. I am very proud of the fact that they come to me as their veterinarian with an obvious behavioral concern. I do tell my clients that I do not recommend a declaw procedure and discuss with them several options that they can do. Since I have only performed 1 declaw in 2 years, you can see that I am very successfull in talking them out of it. If there was a ban in my city, I would not have the opportunity to talk them out of it , because they would go to another city to have it done and they would never even come into my office. This is not a money making practice for me or for most veterinarians. 1 declaw procedure every 2 years for $150 is not alot of money. I know that this is an emotional issue and I can assure you that I am an animal lover as well. I would never judge all of you and accuse you of being anything other than animal lovers so please so me the same level of respect. You also cannot expect to know every single situation in every single cat household. There may be some very serious reasons why a cat has to be declawed. The owners may have an immunocompromised disease, there may be very elderly people or very young poeple. You just can’t impose something onto people you know nothing about. I am also very concerned that a cat may be relinguished or abandoned if the owner cannot have their way. I know this is an emotional issue and sometimes and emotional issues does not bring out the best in us. I am in support of educational programs for owners and veterinarians (as with all fields, there are some bad ones out there). We all agree on more things than we disagree on. I am just worried that a ban might results in more harm than good. I am not a bad person nor am I cruel to animals thinking about those things. Please be respectful and please think this through.

Oct 16, 2009 What I would like to see
by: Michael

Susan thank you very much for taking the time to comment – very useful.

I know what I would like to see at these meetings. The equivalent of Queens Counsel in the UK. Queens Counsel are top barristers (lawyers who do advocacy at court).

I would love to see a top advocate argue the case for a ban or not even a specific ban but local legislation that prohibits cruelty to animals generally and which encompasses declawing. And this is not criticising the great people who give time and effort to argue the case.

A well argued case covering all the angles must ultimately be unstoppable because we all know declawing is wrong, even vets (if they had the courage to face the truth). It is just a case of jolting vets and people out of this denial.

It needs specific funding and coordination of all the groups. They, the bl**dy vets have more money and are frankly more motivated (as a body of people) because they are motivated by their god, money. And for them, there is no better motivator.

I am surprised that declawing does not fall within the ambit of the existing law on cruelty to animals in the USA. That is the best route ultimately as it covers a lot more and would prevent vets wriggling around legislation.

Oct 15, 2009 Los Angeles Ban, letters needed!
by: Susan

Please Read:

* FYI, a de-claw in ban in LA (or anywhere of course!) is HUGE:

Population of Los Angeles: 9,862,046
Population of San Francisco 824,524
Population of Santa Monica 88,050

Population of West Hollywood BAN 36,735

Population of Malibu Mutilators 12,575

Oct 15, 2009 Too few voices for cat claws
by: Susan

Michael, you are correct that none of the huge animal welfare or animal rights groups as powerful as the CVMA are being vocal about the proposed de-claw bans, or present at the council mtgs, that I know of.

I know the HSVMA (Humane Society Vet Med Assoc) vets are supporting it, but I don’t think they have been physically present. They are a small but growing vet group collaborating with the Humane Society of the US for the betterment of animal welfare & protection.

When the ban passed the 1st round of votes in Santa Monica a few weeks ago, they had anti-declaw vets, a cat shelter, & The Paw Project (and thank God for them!) speaking on behalf of the cats. That council saw the truth, Malibu not is totally devastating.

Why isn’t the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) or the American Society for the Protection of Animal Cruelty (ASPCA) present at these council mtgs? I wish I knew! Why haven’t they ever done a national campaign on natural cat behavior & healthy scratching, the destruction of declawing, petitions to the AVMA, anti-declaw posters & bumper stickers, t-shirts, etc? It sickens me! Perhaps they de-claw themselves or their funders do!

I agree with you that these council meetings are making history & the future for the de-claw movement. San Francisco, Los Angeles, & Santa Monica are voting in the next few weeks to pass the bans, what more can we do to help in addition to writing letters to the Council? If the bans don’t pass there, in a more liberal & supposedly enlightened state, there is no hope of bans here in “Midwest De-claw Hell” where I live.

My heart breaks every night when I lie in bed and think of all the precious cats laying in vet cages, with their paws wrapped & throbbing, confused & angry that their claws have been robbed from them….this perversion needs to END, now.

Oct 15, 2009 Agreed
by: Micheal

Hi Ruth, yes Dr. Conrad does great work and I admire her, but has she got the finance and fire power of the vets’ organisations? I think this is a moment in the history of declawing that needs to be seized and maximum force applied at these council meetings.

Thanks for passing on the link.

Oct 15, 2009 Anti declaw people
by: Ruth aka Kattaddorra

Michael, I have passed this link on to someone in the USA much better qualified than I am to answer your question,so hopefully she will reply later on today.

I know the Paw Project’s Dr Jennifer Conrad does great work along with some others who have been battling to get declawing banned for years and I’d be surprised if she hadn’t been there !

Oct 15, 2009 Question
by: Michael

I have a question. Who was present at the meeting representing the cat? The CVMA were there is force. I could be wrong but it seems that we did not have enough people or a person who could argue forcefully enough and with enough weight of argument at this meeting.

I feel that the pro-declawers have heavier fire power than the anti-declawers when it comes to these important meetings.

Am I wrong? If I am correct why is this happening?

Oct 15, 2009 To Rudolph
by: Ruth aka Kattadorra

I worked as a Vet nurse in England all my life until I retired and even before declawing was illegal, none of our vets would ever do that operation.So like you I had a big shock when I discovered almost a year ago that it happens daily and routinely in the USA and Canada.
I can’t understand how something classed as animal abuse in some countries is allowed to go on in others !
I wish we had some way of telling the whole world about it as like you and I before we found out, many many more people won’t know it’s happening.

by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

Living in India i have no connection with “American Pet laws” and “Cat De-Clawing”, but thanks to the “Internet” have become aware of an unheard surgery called “CAT DE-CLAWING”.The word is finally out of the “Horses mouth” for reasons of not banning “Cat De-Clawing”,” The American Veterinarians have to survive on an income based on “Cat De-Clawing”. Feel sorry for the de-clawed cats, a very artificial life of human companionship..

Oct 14, 2009 this makes me sick
by: kathy

After working in a vets office and seeing how they perform this so called last resort operation it sickens me to even think that anyone would do this to their cat. I agree with everyone that de-clawing should be outlawed not just in every state but world wide. So should the practice of breaking 5-gaited horses tails.

I totally agree with the statements that some vets are just out for the money. Its hard to find a compassionate vet these days. Most vet offices around here are so overcrowded and unclean I pray that my cats dont get sick. Every vet has his quirks. Just when you think youve found a good one something always happens to change my mind.

Oct 14, 2009 Declawing is animal cruelty
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

Declawing is animal cruelty – simple as that. Vets who perform this operation should be punished by the law and so should those, who have the power to stop them but turn the blind eye.

Oct 14, 2009 Vets
by: Ruth aka Kattaddorra

The USA vets are so all powerful that even when declawing is botched or done by ‘mistake’ while neutering a cat as it sometimes is by these butcherlike vets who are desperate to declaw as many cats as they can….no one dares to speak out against them. No one dares to complain to the AVMA as they are as corrupt as the vets who do it,so they get away with it and it goes on and on.
It’s well known that some vets and their staff prefer declawed cats as when they go in for treatment for any reason, they only have to worry about being bitten, not being scratched.
Chink chink more money in the till too for the times the cats are returned with physical and mental problems from the declawing.
Everyone who truly loves cats should boycott the ones who declaw and should cold shoulder them socially too and spread the word far and wide.
I wouldn’t let a person trained to help animals but who mutilates them, anywhere near our cats !

Oct 14, 2009 The more
by: Anonymous

The more I understand American vets the more I really hate them (well at least the vast majority – a few don’t declaw). They are so cynical so wrong and so immoral. All decent people must dislike American vets. Don’t go near them. If your cat needs a vet search for one that doesn’t declaw (if you can find one) and ignore the rest.

Oct 14, 2009 Bitterly Disappointed
by: Jo Singer

I am so bitterly disappointed with this decision. Not only the decision but the lies that were told during the hearing.

This morning I immediately was able to get the breaking news published on I do hope that many people will begin to listen to the truth about how declawing is plain and simple torture and maiming of cats and completely unneccessary.

Thank you for publishing your blog, Michael. You are indeed a light shining in the darkness this morning.


Oct 14, 2009 Wrong decision Malibu!
by: Barbara

I missed out putting my name to my comment. I’m not hiding behind “anonymous” because I want to publicly state that it stinks of corruption.

Oct 14, 2009 A vote against a ban, is a vote for animal cruelty
by: Michele S.

I was bitterly disappointed to learn that Malibu City Council voted against a ban on declawing.

As far as I’m concerned Dr. Nunez’ comment “We do not want to see cats declawed routinely.” is just political spin for “We turn a blind eye when it’s a case of cat welfare -v- our bank accounts”.

What hopes have we of eliminating animal cruelty from our society, while vets routinely encourage clients to mutilate the very animals they are meant to be keeping safe from harm?

Oct 14, 2009 Wrong decision Malibu!
by: Anonymous

What sickened me most about the CVMA position statement, apart from their obvious desperation to keep control of declawing for vets to carry on making pots of money through advertising it as readily available, is where it says “Current surgical techniques and modern anaesthetic and pain medications have greatly REDUCED the PAIN and DISCOMFORT associated with cat declawing”

So there is no denial, in fact they acknowledge, that there is pain and discomfort resulting from a totally unnecessary, owner elective cosmetic procedure that IS banned in Europe. Healthy cats with healthy paws should not be subjected to procedures that cause even the least bit of pain and discomfort. Who, knowing that they would be choosing to give their cat pain and stress, would go ahead and have those toes amputated? No true cat lover that’s for sure.

This result is so totally wrong, the CVMA played dirty and they told lies and now cats in Malibu will go on paying for it with their toe ends .

Oct 14, 2009 Corruption
by: Ruth aka Kattaddorra

Well said Michael !!!
It was a foregone conclusion that the ban wouldn’t be passed, had we but known it !
Many of us wasted our time and energy petitioning the council who had the power of the votes.They played us for fools.It seems they are in the pocket of the almighty AVMA and CVMA. It’s all about money grabbing !
Declawing a last resort..huh…so how come vets advertise neuter/declaw packages for little kittens ? A decision come to by the vet and the client discussing it ? That’s a laugh, someone phones to book a cat in for neutering and they are often asked if they would like it declawed too !
These people hold cats in the lowest contempt,they are corrupted by money and power and it’s the poor cats who pay the price with their suffering !
I am disgusted, dismayed and disheartened !
But if they want a fight…. they’ve got one !!!!!

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