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This Bonehead Let Some Random Guy Declaw Her Cat

The cat died, and the owner faces animal cruelty charges; see our tips for correcting problem behavior and the harsh facts on declawing.

Michael Leaverton  |  Jan 8th 2016


At Catster, we believe people who declaw their cats are boneheads, especially when a person declaws her cat because the cat has “damaged some furniture,” which is what Carmenza Piedrahita told police a few weeks after she subjected her kitty Toby to the horrible procedure.

Why did she have to tell police that? Because she’s a cheapskate as well as a bonehead, and her cat paid for it with his life, while she has been charged with animal cruelty and faces up to five years in prison.

“I can’t imagine the pain and suffering this cat endured,” Miami-Dade Chief Assistant State Attorney Kathleen Hoague told the Miami Herald. “Animals suffer in silence.”

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Carmenza Piedrahita. Photo via Miami-Dade Corrections.

This sordid, sad mess started when Carmenza Piedrahita of Miami-Dade decided she wanted to declaw her 8-month-old cat for scratching furniture, not knowing (or not caring) about how damaging declawing — or rather amputation — is to cats. Instead of going to a vet — where she might have received information to lead her to a less mutilating option, like trimming her cat’s nails or using soft caps — she went to a party.

At the party was a man, who said he knew a guy. He’ll declaw your cat for free, he told her.

And she said okay.

And so, unbelievably, some time later the man from the party, Geronimo Gonzalez, drove over to Piedrahita’s house, picked up Toby, and took him over to see a man named Jose, according the police statement, who chopped off Toby’s claws using an “unspecified tool.” For his part, Gonzalez, who is 72, played nurse, holding Toby and squirting Crazy Glue on his paws afterward.

These people did not do a good, medically sound job.

After Toby returned home, he got sick. He lay in pain. He grew dehydrated and repeatedly vomited. His paws did not heal — the bones were exposed, and the wounds became swollen and infected. According to Miami Herald, Piedrahita waited two weeks before bringing him to Animal Welfare Society of South Florida, but by then it was too late. Toby passed on.

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Photo courtesy of the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office

Piedrahita and Gonzalez were charged with animal cruelty, and both are fighting the case. Piedrahita is claiming through her lawyer that she thought Gonzalez was a vet all along, but Miami-Dade police say that she “had full knowledge” that he was no such thing.

“She feels terrible about the whole situation,” Piedrahita’s lawyer, Christian Dunham, told the Miami Herald. “She really wanted the cat. If not, she wouldn’t have taken him to the clinic.”

It’s a hollow defense. At the clinic, the vet noted that cat was “in severe pain due to exposed bones in both front legs,” while the court file contains photos showing “gruesome wounds.”

If you have a cat who’s scratching furniture that you don’t want scratched, there are remedies far less drastic than declawing. Marilyn Krieger, who writes our Ask a Behaviorist column, answers the question “How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Scratching the Furniture?” Catherine Holm discovered that “Strategically Placed Scratching Posts Could Save Your Furniture.” Heather Marcoux gives advice on “How to Keep Your Cat From Scratching the Sofa.” And if, for whatever reason, you believe you must get your cat declawed, read JaneA Kelly’s “7 Things You Should Know Before You Declaw Your Cat.”

Via the Miami Herald

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