Legislation that would improve cats’ lives in New Jersey is one step closer to becoming law.
Two bills on May 31 were passed out of the New Jersey Senate Economic Growth Committee: S1209, which would ban declawing throughout the state, and S725, which would encourage Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). These bills will now be considered by the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee.
Alley Cat Allies strongly supports both bills. We are encouraging New Jersey residents to voice their support and contact their legislators.
If New Jersey passes S1209, it will be at the forefront of the U.S. movement to ban declawing at the state level. Denver, and eight cities in California, have already banned declawing. In the last several months, two Canadian veterinary medical associations, Nova Scotia and British Columbia, have also voted to outlaw declawing. At least 42 countries, including Israel and France, also have such bans.
Americans are increasingly voicing opposition to the practice of declawing, thanks to better education and awareness about the potential for long-term harm on cats’ well-being. People typically declaw cats to stop them from scratching, but the procedure is unnecessary because many humane alternatives are widely available.
Without their claws, cats can have trouble walking and balancing. The discomfort in their feet may cause cats to avoid using the litter box. And because they feel unsafe without their natural protection, declawed cats are more likely to bite. These are some of the most common reasons owners abandon their cats in shelters, where they face steep odds to find a new home.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend declawing, even for individuals with compromised immune systems.
If New Jersey passes S725, which would encourage TNR, the bill would save and improve the lives of community cats and shelter animals throughout the state. S725 would encourage animal shelters to implement TNR programs or direct community cats to established TNR programs. Community cats are usually not socialized, or adoptable, so shelters are a death sentence for them. TNR enables community cats to live and thrive in their outdoor homes.
The bill would also overhaul the state regulation of animal shelters. S725 would require shelters to keep, and make public, records of the animals who enter and leave their facilities. This will hold shelters accountable for animals in their care and presumably result in better outcomes for them. The bill would also require shelters to provide enrichment activities to improve animals’ mental and physical well-being, and to scan cats and dogs for microchips at intake. Scanning for microchips is the quickest way to ensure that owned and community cats are reunited with their owners or caregivers and returned to their homes—indoors and outdoors.
Alley Cat Allies is delighted that favorable bills for animals like this are moving through the New Jersey Legislature. We will continue to push to get them passed for the benefits of cats and their communities.