Backers of declawing ban howl over Senate vote

Keene Sentinel
Published: 5/24/2023 4:41:27 PM
Modified: 5/24/2023 4:38:57 PM

Backers of a bill to outlaw the declawing of cats — a procedure that essentially amputates the tops of a feline’s toes — complain that the legislation didn’t get a fair vote in the N.H. Senate.

This past Thursday, the Senate tabled House Bill 231, or removed it from further consideration.

In a videotaped recording of the voice vote, about equal volume is audible for the “ayes” in favor of tabling the measure and the “nos” in opposition, but Senate President Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, declared, “The ayes, in my opinion, have it. House Bill 231 is laid upon the table.”

Bradley did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday.

Rep. Mike Bordes, R-Laconia, the bill’s author, said that since it was unclear how many senators were in favor of the tabling motion, and how many were against, Bradley should have held another vote requiring them to specify their stance.

“I don’t agree with his determination,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “Why do a voice vote on something that tight? There was no clear evidence that the ‘ayes’ had it.”

The measure passed the House, 225-147, on March 16.

Bordes said he has heard from a number of members of the public who were upset about the way the Senate conducted its vote.

“They were pretty disappointed with the way it was handled, especially since the ratio of those supporting the bill to those opposed was six-to-one,” Bordes said, adding he intends to back similar legislation in the future.

Online testimony to the House Environment and Agriculture Committee showed 64 comments in favor of the bill and seven against. While banning elective declawing, the measure would have allowed the procedure if medically necessary.

The bill drew attention from veterinarians and cat advocates around the country.

Dr. Crystal Heath, a veterinarian in San Francisco who supported the bill, watched the Senate vote live on YouTube.

“To me, the nos sounded louder,” she said. “It seems inherently unfair because some people speak louder than other people.”

Speaking before the Senate last Thursday, Sen. Howard Pearl, R-Loudon, said declawing is a seldom-done procedure and that veterinarians, if asked, tell cat owners about its alternatives and risks.

“House Bill 231 is looking to solve a problem that only a select few are claiming as an issue,” he said.

Sen. Daryl Abbas, R-Salem, urged his colleagues to back the bill, pointing to a painting in the Senate chamber depicting a scene in which Daniel Webster as a child puts his hand near a tabby cat.

“I love cats,” he said.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has a policy that discourages the declawing of cats as an elective procedure.

Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784


© 2021 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy