It’s important to have laws that protect animals from harm and neglect. Lawmakers have the power to ban cruel practices and set guidelines for how pets should be treated.
Recently, Maryland passed a number of new bills including animal rights laws — one of which makes Maryland on the second US state to have a ban on declawing cats.
Ban on declawing cats
The practice of declawing pet cats was once commonly done to protect furniture and prevent scratching, but it is now widely viewed as a cruel and unnecessary procedure that causes lasting harm to a cat.
“Declawing traditionally involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe,” the Humane Society writes. “If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle. It is an unnecessary surgery that provides no medical benefit to the cat.”
While several US cities have enacted bans on the procedure, until now only one state, New York, had enacted a statewide ban.
After Thursday’s vote and a signature from Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland has officially become the second, marking a major win for animal activists who have been working for years to ban the procedure.
“When people wrap their head around it, the idea that we would mutilate to protect a furniture item is abhorrent to people,” Del. Lorig Charkoudian, the bill’s sponsor in the House, told the Washington Post.
“Delegates and senators heard from the people of Maryland and made a powerful decision that we will no longer allow cats in our state to endure this cruel, crippling procedure,” Becky Robinson, founder and president of Alley Cat Allies, said in a press release.
“Amputating the last joints from cats’ toes is excruciating, causing a lifetime of pain and unintended consequences that often lead to cats being relinquished to shelters.”
According to WTOC, the bill goes into effect on October 1, and violators are subject to a fine up to $1,000. The bill makes an exemption for procedures
“necessary for a therapeutic purpose,” such as removing a cancerous nail bed.
Protecting dogs with ‘Extreme Weather Bill’
While the declawing ban is historic, it’s not the only law passed last week that will protect animals.
According to WBALTV, Maryland also passed the “Extreme Weather Bill,” which sets regulations on how long a dog can be left outside in extreme weather.
It will now be illegal for a person to leave their dog outside unattended for more than 30 minutes without access to shelter, in heat above 90 degrees or cold below 23 degrees.
“We get calls every day from people in our community who are very concerned about animals left outside in extreme weather,” Maryland SPCA community care and advocacy director Katie Flory told WBALTV. “This bill really provides some guidelines and boundaries for animal control and police departments when an animal can stay outside and when it cannot.”
“This year of 2022 was a really good year for animal welfare in Maryland and we as a state should be really, really proud of that,” Flory added. “We know that a state that cares a lot about their animals cares about their humans as well.”
We’re so glad Maryland passed these new laws to protect animals — congrats on becoming the second state in the US to ban declawing cats! We hope more states follow soon and end this cruel practice.
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