New Jersey Veterinarian Says Declawing Is Malpractice

New Jersey Veterinarian Says Declawing Is Malpractice


RE: Support for NJ Bill A3899 / S2410 to ban surgical declawing of cats (onychectomy)

January 19, 2017

Dear New Jersey Legislator:

I am a veterinarian and have been in active small animal practice for over 40 years. I am fiercely opposed to the practice of the routine declawing of cats. It matters not how well the procedure is performed nor how much post-operative pain medication is offered — the long term consequences are often the same and damaging to the pet.

Declawing is a disfigurative mutilation of the feet involving digit amputations that always cause physical damage and quite often emotional damage to the pet with long term consequences.
Declawed cats, without their natural defenses often become aggressive and are more likely to bite.

Declawed cats more often show anxieties that manifest in urinating or defecating in inappropriate places, which can often result in relinquishment of the pet to a shelter where the final result is euthanasia as pets with biting and dysuric tendencies are difficult to rehome.

In my career as a veterinarian, I have seen and/or treated hundreds of declawed cats with these behavior problems, most of them showing signs of chronic problems, regardless of the onychectomy technique.
Declawing is a barbaric practice that is outlawed in many countries. The practice does nothing to benefit the cat but is performed as a convenience to the pet owner who wishes to prevent scratching damage to furniture.

Despite the recommendation from the American Veterinary Medical Association to its members to only declaw cats as a last resort, many veterinarians declaw as a first resort and often offer a discounted neuter-declaw package.

The veterinary professional organizations have not recognized onychectomy for what it really is: malpractice.
For a veterinarian to harm an animal and with no physical benefit to that animal is tantamount to malpractice. Despite cautions to their members for decades, professional veterinary associations have not effectively reined in their veterinarians from performing routine onychectomy.

A law is needed to stop the unnecessary cruelty caused by onychectomy. This is not a matter of regulation, for we cannot regulate animal cruelty — we must stop it.
New Jersey has a long and proud history of animal protective legislation. It follows in New Jersey’s proud tradition to lead the nation in becoming the first state to outlaw routine onychectomy and to join the compassionate countries who have already recognized onychectomy for the animal cruelty that it is.


Gordon B. Stull, V.M.D.
NJ veterinarian (lic. # AI001833000)
40+ years of helping and healing pets | 609-472-8200 |


  • Here is the full email list of the legislators who will be voting for the declawing bill on Monday, Jan 23rd.

    Please copy all these emails, put “Vote YES on A3899” in the subject matter, and send them all an email and ask them to please VOTE YES ON A3899, the bill to ban declawing. You can write more but this is all you need to put in the email.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


    Purina4Paws Campaign Idea Petition Mars Inc. Petition




Lying Is The Only Way To Defend Declawing

Lying Is The Only Way To Defend Declawing

Photo of laser declawed cat toes and claws.

The NJVMA has to lie and use fake facts to protect their right to declaw cats.

It’s almost as if they know there is no good reason to declaw but are trying to convince themselves that it’s ok to still make money from mutilating cats.

Here is a letter of support from a New Jersey vet with the REAL facts about declawing Letter of support from a NJ vet for the declawing bill


 Screenshot of this photo is from facebook from January 2017. This is the practice of one of the NJVMA’s board member vets, Dr Neal Beeber. More about the way this practice and other New Jersey vet practices address declawing in this extensive declawing study NJ Declawing Study

 The NJVMA hired this firm to help stop the declawing bill in New Jersey. Here is the official note they sent to the New Jersey legislators for the vote on the bill on Monday, Jan 23, 2017.

Here is my story showing the truth over their declawing lies and propaganda. NJVMA Declawing Lies and Propaganda

    TRENTON, NEW JERSEY 08608-1102
    PHONE (609) 396-8838 FACSIMILE (609) 989-7491
    WASHINGTON, D.C. 20004
    PHONE: (202) 589-0800 FACSIMILE (202) 589-1288
    TO: Members of the General Assembly
    FROM: Dale Florio
    DATE: January 20, 2017
    RE: A-3899; Prohibits surgical declawing of cats and other animals.
    On behalf of our client, the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, we urge you to
    oppose the above captioned legislation. No other state currently prohibits this practice.
    Please oppose because:
    New Jersey’s veterinarians are the leading advocates for saving the lives of unwanted or
    discarded animals;
    Veterinarians are educating clients on alternatives to declawing, resulting in a dramatic
    reduction in use;
    Advances in medical practices make the small number performed each year safe and
    virtually painless for cats;
    Families with medical issues would be unable to keep their cats if they were unable to
    have them declawed; and
    People who rely on cats for therapy and companionship would be most negatively
    impacted because of the potential for infection:
    o Cat owners on lifelong transplant medication that suppresses their immune
    o Cat owners on chemotherapy that suppress immune systems;
    o Cat owners on blood thinners and hemophiliacs; and
    o Elderly cat owners who live in facilities that require a cat to be declawed.
    Again, we urge you to oppose the above captioned legislation. Thank you for your


    Here is the full email list of the legislators who will be voting for the declawing bill on Monday, Jan 23rd.

    Please copy all these emails, put “Vote YES on A3899” in the subject matter, and send them all an email and ask them to please VOTE YES ON A3899, the bill to ban declawing. You can write more but this is all you need to put in the email.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


    Purina4Paws Campaign Idea Petition Mars Inc. Petition

    Photo posted on Instagram by a veterinary professional. Around 2 million cats a year are declawed in America. They experience pain, fear, and lots of suffering from this mutilating and inhumane procedure.

    Photo from facebook from Dr Neal Beeber,  NJVMA board member’s practice.

When you know better, you do better

When you know better, you do better

I received this nice note from a supporter.


Dear City,

When I was younger, my cat scratched the cornea if my eye.  At the time, my family didn’t know much about declawing, so we had him declawed.  It was either declaw or put up for adoption and I couldn’t bare to lose my kitty.

When I got older, my family adopted another cat.  Out of concern for our already declawed cat, we declawed the new kitten.

A few years later, after my first kitty passed, my parents got a new kitten.  Our vet, and others, informed my parents about declawing.  The weren’t sure what to do because of our already declawed cat.

I stepped up and told my parents that I would make sure to trim their new kitten’s nails.  We got him wonderful scratching posts, one for upstairs and one for downstairs.  Our older cat not only managed to establish his alpha kitty position, but he plays with the kitten too.  They are both safe and happy.

My family became educated on declawing and we made the relationship between the kitties work without having to declaw another cat.  After seeing all of the horrible comments you’ve come across, I felt the need to share how people can be educated successfully and that things can change.

I’m very happy with the awareness you are promoting about the horrific process that is declawing.  I think it’s important for people to learn what it really means when a cat gets declawed, and to promote new ways to help the people who are concerned about what a cat’s claws could do in their specific lifestyles.  Some people are worried about furniture, so there are scratching posts of all varieties and many methods to attract a cat to them instead of a couch.  We never needed those for Simba, but we were prepared with catnip spray if he needed to be lured to the posts.  People worried about children or other pets have the same options we looked at – the nail covers and proper nail maintenance.  I have learned, and so have my parents, how important it is to put your pet’s needs as a higher priority than some people do.

I’m not sure if it’ll make you feel any better, but I want my story to bring you hope that people can learn and can change.  I love all that you for for kitties!  It’s very happy-making!

Jenn, Lucky, Shadow, and Simba


First is Lucky.  Regardless of a scratched eye, I loved him so so much.  He was my baby.
Second is Shadow.  He loved Lucky, and now loves his new little brother.  Even though he’s declawed, he is still the alpha cat.  He is also my baby.
And now there is SImba.  He is not declawed, but has full respect for his older brother Shadow.  He has never taken his claws out to scratch anyone especially Shadow as far as I am aware.
 He uses his scratching posts, so the furniture is fine.
 He is so used to me clipping his nails that it isn’t difficult.
 He doesn’t like it, but what cat does like their nails getting clipped.  Even though he’s technically my parents’ cat since he lives with them, he is my baby too.
One Giant Step For Catkind That All Veterinary Practices Should Take

One Giant Step For Catkind That All Veterinary Practices Should Take

On January 10, 2017 Clay Mills Veterinary Clinic in Lexington, Kentucky took a huge step for catkind and stopped declawing cats. Facebook page of Clay Mills Veterinary Clinic  PLEASE GIVE THEM A BIG THANK YOU ON THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE FOR THIS!

Please send this post to your vet if they still declaw cats. Post this on the facebook page of your vet and hopefully it will inspire them to take the same path. Clay Mills Veterinary Clinic received thousands of notes from people thanking them for doing the right thing. I’m sure it also brought them more business since pet owners are looking for ethical veterinary practices that don’t do this inhumane procedure to cats.

Declawing is inhumane. Declawing doesn’t keep a cat in a home or out of a shelter. (There are thousands of declawed cats in shelters who are being euthanized because of their behavioral issues from their declaws. Every single day cat owners are trying to give up their declawed cats.)

Declawing is wrong and there are many humane alternatives. If your vet won’t stop then it shows they don’t want to lose the income from declawing and they don’t want to take the time to counsel cat owners about the humane alternatives and don’t want to take the time to educate cat owners on why declawing is harmful and mutilating to a cat.

Clay Mills Veterinary Clinic

“After careful consideration and much soul-searching, we have decided to stop declawing cats.

We know this is a controversial topic. As veterinarians, we have been trained to do this procedure, we have done it for years very well, and with much pain medicine. We have all owned declawed cats ourselves. This is not a condemnation of people with declawed cats; we’ve had them, too.

We used to believe that declawing cats saved their lives. We feared that cats with claws would be turned in to the shelters in record numbers, and that we were doing a good thing by making cats more likely to stay in their homes.

As it turns out, the numbers do not bear this out. When areas have stopped declawing, the number of surrendered cats actually dropped. This left us with a question. We know that even under the best of circumstances, a declaw is a major and painful surgery, (and no less so when it is performed with a laser, by the way.) It is an amputation of the end of the cat’s “finger,” not just the removal of the claw itself. And even when performed perfectly, can have life-long complications.

So we wondered, if we weren’t saving cats, and this procedure can be painful to cats, why were we doing this? Although we know furniture destruction can be a problem, it can almost always be prevented with the right techniques. Besides, when it comes down to it, as veterinarians, our main concern is the cats, not the couches. We have to do what is best for our patients. Thank you for your understanding.

Please see the tips for how to keep your cat from scratching your furniture. They really work!

1. If your cat is already scratching, go ahead and stop the damage by covering that area. If it is a couch, for example, hand a sheet over the couch arm (they won’t like the way the sheet “gives” when they lean on it), or cover with aluminum foil, double sides tape or “sticky paws” (available on Amazon and made for this purpose.)
2. Provide appropriate, alternate scratching surfaces. If you cat is already scratching, put the posts in these same areas. (In front of the arm of the couch he is scratching, for example.) Cats like to scratch prominent areas of rooms as a visual marker. Scratching posts by sleeping areas are also helpful.
3. Cats want to be able to put their full weight against posts without the post “giving.” Posts need to be heavy and wide so they won’t tip, and tall so cats can stretch way up to scratch. Cat trees are an excellent way to get a tall, sturdy scratching surface.
4. Cats also like to have some horizontal scratching surfaces.
5. All scratching surfaces should be made of sisal or similar material that cats can somewhat “tear up.” They use scratching as a visual marker, so they like for their scratched material to show that it has been scratched.
6. Use Feliway. Cats also scratch as scent marking. Scent glands between their toes leave pheromones on scratched areas. Feliway make the cats think the area has already been marked, so they feel less like they need to scratch it again. Spray Feliway on the furniture on the areas being scratched.
7. Consider keeping your cat out of the room with the good furniture when you’re not at home until he gets used to the scratching rules.
8. Trim your cat’s nails. We can show you how at the clinic and then it’s easy to do yourself at home.
9. “Soft Paws” are little rubber coverings for the cats claws you can use if nothing else is working.

To anyone reading these tips: Remember, all the deterrent methods in the world won’t work if your cat has doesn’t have a good alternative. The mistake most people with cats (and most people making scratching posts) make is to use a post that is too short and too easily tipped over. A cat scratching a vertical surface wants to stretch all the way up as high as he can to scratch (and that’s pretty high!) What do they do this on in nature? Trees! 🙂 Since we don’t have trees in the house we need really tall, really sturdy scratching surfaces. As well as horizontal surfaces.

It helps to think of a cat more like a dog in this way. Look what we go through to keep our puppies and dogs from chewing up our stuff and urinating in the house. It’s a lot of work! We have been used to thinking of cats as automatic, but they need some training, too.

A lot of people from Europe and Australia are chiming in that declaws have been banned there forever. That’s true. They are way ahead of us in the US. (They’re getting way ahead in healthy breed standards, too, but that is a post for another day!) Studying the situation in Europe and Australia has been crucial in getting people in the US to understand that their cats can keep their claws and everything will be fine, and for helping veterinarians understand that not declawing would not lead to an increase in cats given up to shelters, so let’s thank our friends across the pond for that.

Dixie, The 4 Paw Declawed Cat That Was Saved From Being Euthanized

Dixie, The 4 Paw Declawed Cat That Was Saved From Being Euthanized

Here is an update about Dixie the kitty who was relinquished by her owners to Tails Humane Society because of behavioral issues from her four paw declaw and was to be euthanized yesterday. Good news!!! She has a second chance in life!

Tails Humane Society said that Dixie is not going to be euthanized! She has to recover from a bad upper respiratory infection and needs dental work before she can be taken out of this shelter.

There are two rescues who want to get her out of the shelter and into a good home.

The Paw Project is contacting their vet in Chicago to see if they can examine Dixie and see if she needs paw repair surgery. Please donate to the Paw Project website

Your donations are used to help kitties like Dixie.

A little back story on Dixie. She was adopted as a kitten from this shelter, Tails Humane Society in Illinois.

The people who adopted her previously had a four paw declawed kitty so they took Dixie to their vet and requested that she also be declawed on all four paws. The vet granted the cat owner’s request, as most vets do when it comes to declawing, and did the 4 paw declaw.

Dixie lived her life mostly under the bed, wasn’t properly cared for, and seemed to be a very scared kitty according to a family member who didn’t live in the home with Dixie.

Dixie’s owners decided to return her to this shelter because of litter box avoidance issues.

The family member was concerned about Dixie’s welfare and called this shelter. She spoke with the “certified euthanasia tech” who said that Dixie unadoptable because of her behavioral issues and said Dixie would be euthanized the next day.

The family member was shocked and saddened that Dixie not only had to suffer through this mutilating and inhumane procedure, but now she was going to be euthanized because of issues from the declaw.

She urgently reached out to Milo’s Sanctuary Milo’s Sanctuary to try to help to save poor Dixie’s life. Milo’s Sanctuary reached out to me and I posted Dixie’s story. (Milo’s Sanctuary does amazing work to save kitties so please help them out with a donation)

Thanks to the overwhelming support and concern from so many of you, Tails Humane Society said they aren’t going to euthanize her.

Here is the official comment from Tails Humane Society about Dixie.

“As explained in general in our response to everyone’s inquiries, Dixie is not being euthanized simply because she is declawed. She was relinquished to us after not using the litterbox in her former home, and unfortunately she’s peed outside her box in her cage at the shelter. She is also currently being treated for URI and will need extensive dental work too. Dixie is a very sweet cat. We would love to find a home for her, but as you know, cats with a history of peeing outside the box are extremely difficult to adopt. Tails is not a sanctuary and we are not set up to house cats long term, especially those with litter box issues. If you have resources to find Dixie a home and ensure her medical issues are addressed we would love to work together! I also would like to note that her paws don’t appear to be deformed from a botched declaw surgery. Also, we do not advocate declawing, and our contract states that declawing is not allowed.”

I will keep you posted about Dixie.

Remember, declawing doesn’t keep a cat in a home and it doesn’t save a cat from being thrown away and euthanized. There are thousands of declawed kitties like Dixie who are sitting in shelters and rescues who will be euthanized because of behavioral issues from their mutilating declaw surgeries.





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