Possible N.Y. declawing ban

Dear Editor,

In regards to recent news articles indicating that New York and New Jersey may institute bans on the declawing of cats, it would seem to me that the time and effort to enact these laws would be better spent working on legislation to protect other animals who suffer far worse cruelties.

While I am not a fan of declawing, I wish the same passionate cries were being made on behalf of other animals whose lives are made a misery in the name of profit.

In addition, there are other ramifications to consider before taking away yet another freedom not only from dedicated professionals but also pet owners who would properly care for and love their pets so long as those pets do not destroy their homes and expensive furnishings. It can be very difficult to train a cat to scratch somewhere else besides his/her favorite place such as door moldings. Even if training eventually works, the damage is already done. Bad enough for a home owner, but for renters, it can mean eviction. Most often, it is the cat who loses his or her home.

Over the past 10 years, I have volunteered for a local animal shelter. I have friends and acquaintances who have been doing the same so we see first hand the problem of so many dogs and cats without homes. Are policy makers who vote in favor of these bans personally prepared to take in the thousands of cats and kittens who will become or will remain homeless due to these new laws? If policy makers want to enact laws to protect cats, mandatory spaying and neutering should be required for any cat (or dog) that is permitted outdoors unsupervised. Violators should then be mandated to volunteer at local animal shelters in order for them to understand the suffering that results from their irresponsibility.

Take away veterinarians’ rights to make a profit from declawing cats? Let’s take away trappers’ rights to profit from the use of cruel traps and snares. Trapping inflicts pain and agony on animals on a daily basis for profit. Veterinarians alleviate the suffering of animals on a daily basis including treating pets who are caught in those traps. Why isn’t their equal outrage over the pain and agony inflicted on wild animals and pets caught in leg-hold traps? Many years ago, I was a witness to a neighbor’s dog getting caught in a leg-hold trap. That dog’s screams are permanently seared into my memory.

What about factory farm animals? Where is the public’s concern for these poor beings? Are policy makers willing to enact laws to help alleviate the daily cruelties inflicted upon factory farm animals until their eventual demise? The Holocaust isn’t over for these animals – for pigs (touted to be more intelligent than dogs) kept in gestation crates where they are unable to even turn around. Nor has it ended for chickens, packed together so tightly in cages their beaks are seared off by the workers. Burning off the ends of theirs beaks, which can also burn their tongues, is done to prevent their injuring one another out of the shear frustration and madness brought on by their living conditions. It should be noted that factory farming is illegal in some places including the country of Sweden. When will the U. S. progress enough to be counted among those countries that recognize even animals raised for food should be treated humanely?

Finally, I have known several cats who have been declawed. They recovered from their surgeries and have gone on to be healthy and happy members of their respective families. Please let’s not make more pets homeless.

Christine Wigren,

Jamestown, N.Y.

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