New York became the first state to ban the declawing of cats when Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed the bill, which was approved by the state legislature last month, into law on Monday, according to The Hill.
The bill’s text states that it will ban onychectomy, or declawing, on cats in New York except when it is necessary to address a “physical medical condition” that “compromises the cat’s health”.
Veterinarians who violate the new law may face a fine up to $1,000.
Among those who opposed the bill was the New York State Veterinary Medical Society. It argued that the practice should be allowed as a last resort if its owner has a weakened immune system, and therefore more susceptible to infections from scratches, or if cats won’t stop scratching furniture or humans.
“By banning this archaic practice, we will ensure that animals are no longer subjected to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures,” said Gov. Cuomo.
The state of New York is to join the likes of Canada and much of Europe, who have already made the procedure illegal.