Target: California State Assembly
Goal: Stop California landlords from requiring declawed or devocalized pets as a condition of tenancy.
California landlords currently promote, advertise and require potential tenants to declaw or devocalize their pets as a condition of tenancy. Declawing is, “an operation that surgically removes an animal’s claws by means of the amputation of all or part of the end bones of the animal’s toes” (Wikipedia). Traumatic and painful, many cats lose their sense of balance from walking on amputated stumps. Cat’s claws are a primary means of defense; many cats become aggressive, shrink in fear or withdraw from activity once declawed. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Assn. found that 33% of cats that had been declawed had behavioral problems after declawing. Devocalization is a surgical procedure where tissue is removed from the animal’s vocal chords, permanently reducing their voice’s volume. Unfortunately, the tissue usually grows back and blocks the throat, requiring multiple surgeries to remove the tissue and ongoing breathing problems. Devocalized cats or dogs can choke on food and water, and gag or cough repeatedly. The larynx can also be permanently damaged. With such harm being inflicted and possible lifelong suffering, it is cruel to demand that tenants perform these procedures so that they will be able to rent a place.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau of 2006-2010, California had over 12 million households in the state. In the same report, home ownership statistics were at 57.4%, potentially leaving over 40% of households as renters and subject to this tenancy requirement. California has one of the largest pet populations around. Over 40% of California households own a dog and over 35% own a cat. (APPMA 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey) This requirement affects a large number of Californians and their pets, and gives landlords an abusive use of power. Landlords are already able to collect a pet deposit fee for damage to a residence, so declawing is not necessary. Landlords can also choose to not rent out to pet owners, if they do not want to deal with noise or damages. Both of these existing options are safe and humane.
California State Senator Fran Pavley introduced Bill SB 1229 that would halt this cruel requirement for California tenants and would impose a civil fine of up to $1,000 per animal for violation of the law. Passed in the California Senate by a unanimous vote, it is now awaiting passage in the California Assembly. Passing this bill would be a positive step in the right direction, protecting our animal friends that are having their voice taken away literally and figuratively. Please sign the petition below and help us forever ban this cruel tenancy requirement in California.
Dear California State Assembly,
Please pass Senate Bill 1229 and stop landlords from promoting, advertising or requiring potential tenants to declaw or devocalize their animals in order to rent. Declawing and devocalizing are both invasive surgical procedures that are extremely painful and destructive, and can cause a host of lifelong physical and behavioral problems for an animal.
Declawing amputates the last joint of a cat’s toe and is excruciatingly painful. Declawed cats tend to withdraw, become timid, show aggression, or start urinating out of their litter box, among other problems. Devocalization or “debarking” cuts or lasers off tissue from the vocal chords, resulting in a lower volume of barking or meowing. However, the vocal chords will often regrow amongst cartilage, blocking the animal’s breathing and leading to more surgeries or a painful death. It is cruel to demand that tenants perform these procedures on their animals in order to rent a place.
California residents should not be forced to declaw or devocalize their beloved pet in order to rent. Landlords can always require a pet deposit fee for damages caused by a pet, or choose to not rent out to pet owners. California is a progressive state; I am urging you to take a stand and pass this bill that would severely fine anyone who would demand these inhumane criteria as a condition of tenancy. Thank you for your time.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Flickr via Katlene Niven