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Maryland Lawmakers OK Bill Outlawing Practice Of Declawing Cats

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The Maryland House of Delegates passed a measure Monday that would make declawing cats illegal in Maryland.

Delegates voted 102-24 in favor of Senate Bill 67, which previously cleared the state Senate by a 32-14 vote late last month.

The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Larry Hogan, whose signature would make Maryland the second state in the U.S. to outlaw the practice of declawing.

DOCUMENT: View a copy of the bill

Under the legislation, it would be illegal for veterinarians and residents to perform declawing procedures on cats unless it is necessary to deal with a medical condition.

It authorizes the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners to suspend or revoke the licenses of veterinarians who violate the legislation and impose significant fines.

Violations by veterinary practitioners are punishable by a $5,000 fine for a first offense and up to $10,000 for a second offense.

Residents who violate the legislation would be subject to a fine of up to $1,000.

If the governor signs the measure into law, Maryland would join New York and become the second state in the country to ban the practice.

The legislation has the support of Alley Cat Allies, a Bethesda-based advocacy organization that championed the passage of Maryland's and New York's bills.

Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies, issued a statement Tuesday calling for Gov. Hogan to sign the measure into law.

Contrary to its name, Robinson said, the practice of declawing actually means amputating the last bones of a cat's toes.

"Cats are creatures whose lives have value and who feel pain," Robinson said. "The barbarous act of removing this part of their anatomy is cruel and unnecessary."

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