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Berkeley bans declawing of cats

By jim Published: November 11, 2009

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Cats have found another safe haven in Berkeley, where declawing felines is now a misdemeanor crime.

The city joins a growing list of cities, including San Francisco and West Hollywood, that have instituted bans. Los Angeles and Santa Monica also have given preliminary approval to them.

Berkeley's city council unanimously voted Tuesday to ban the practice that backers say is painful and inhumane. Councilman Jesse Arreguin, who co-authored the law, says most declawing is done only to benefit the owner.

Violations will be punishable by a $1,000 fine or six months in jail.

The California Veterinary Medical Association opposes such bans, saying the decision should be made between the owner and veterinarian. Spokesman Carl Singer says there are some cases where declawing is preferable to putting the animal down.

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