California Governor Vetoes Landlord Declaw/Debark Bill


California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has rejected abill lthat would have prohibited landlords from requiring tenants or potential tenants to declaw or devocalize their pets as a condition of occupancy.

In his veto message, Schwarzenegger said he supports the goal of the bill but feels that some of the findings and declarations in the bill are “unsupported by science.”

In addition, this measure suggests that declawing should be prohibited for any non-therapeutic reason, which would include the legitimate medical needs of a pet owner. Regrettably, this bill goes too far in attempting to deal with inappropriate demands by landlords, the governor said.

Assemblyman Pedro Nava, who introduced AB 2743 in February, contended that declawing and devocalization have irreversible effects on animals.

The bill also stated that such procedures could have unintended consequences: for example, there could be a safety risk to police officers if a devocalized attack dog is present on property that law enforcement officers have legal cause to enter.

Increased aggression and litterbox avoidance by declawed cats was another example the bill gave.

I am very disappointed that the Governor vetoed my bill, Nava said. Through hard work, we were able to reach a compromise that was acceptable to California apartment building owners and animal lovers. The only opposition to my measure came from those with a financial interest in performing these surgeries, which are increasingly being viewed as outdated and cruel.

The Paw Project, a California anti-declawing activist group, claimed in their media alert that Schwarzeneggers veto message contained mischaracterizations and inaccuracies lifted directly from the opposition letter from the California Veterinary Medical Association.” The alert also stated that during his term in office, Schwarzenegger has received at least $30,400 in political contributions from the coffers of the CVMA.

The California Veterinary Medical Association, which has long opposed declawing bans, agreed with the bills concept but officially opposed it due to certain language.

There is no proven relationship between a cat declaw procedure and the impact on public safety, CVMA President Mark Nunez, DVM, said in an earlier media alert. All cats, whether declawed or not, have the ability to bite, soil, scratch, etc., but again, these behaviors certainly do not rise to the level of public health and safety concern.

CVMA also took issue with the bills definitions of non-therapeutic, declawing and devocalization.

These definitions set the stage for future legislation to limit the veterinarian-client-patient relationship, Dr. Nunez said. The intent of the bill is to prohibit a landlord from stipulating that an animal must be declawed or devocalized as a condition of tenancy. It is irrelevant if the procedure is being performed for non-therapeutic reasons.


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