Don’t Allow Landlords to Require Animals to be Declawed or Devocalized

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


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  1. save life.all says:

    Save all living things

  2. Janetta Bass Baker says:

    De-Clawing and De-vocalizing are animal abuse..How could anyone condone, much less force animal cruelty….Any landlord who would make requirements such as these need to find a new profession!!!!

  3. As a veterinarian I find it appalling that procedures such as de-clawing (really an amputation of the toes) and de-vocalizing are still legal in the United States. These are barbaric, cruel acts which have no place in a humane, civilized society.

  4. This is simply inhumane! Educate these landlords and bring them into the 21st century. I pity the vets forced to do this to innocent animals.

  5. I am beginning to believe that most government officials
    Have never known, loved or been loved by a pet. The bills that come up for votes, be it city, state or national, show just how ignorant and uncaring a lot of these people are toward animals.
    Why do so many of them promote animal cruelty ???? Are they that ignorant or do they just not care at all ?
    To pull out claws and operate on vocal cords is very inhumane and painful to dogs and cats.
    Thank God for the decent people in government that do their best to stop blatant abuse to not only our domestic pets, but all the animals in the food chain that are treated as if they don’t have feelings. All animals feel pain…. physical and emotional and WE, the people, must be their voices.
    Stand up for animal rights and get the barbarians that are in office….OUT, as quickly as possible.

  6. This is absurd, and many tenants have pets. Why the necessity to hurt them and amputate? These procedures disturb and destroy an animal, causing more problems.

  7. Omg…lets just see if they like their nails pulled out!

  8. susan dee olsen says:

    this barbaric practice should not be allowed by law

  9. Why should we force animal’s to conform to our environment. What about their right’s. Declawing is mutation as well as devocalization. These practices are an outrage and unnecessary. Cat’s can be trained to use a scratching post; cat’s need to scratch just like humans need to stretch. Kitties kneeding and scratching gives them pleasure. Dogs bark, that’s what they do and you can train them as well. Patience, Patience, Patience with our creatures. They can learn. Shame on using these old out dated methods of declawing and devocalization on our Pet’s. Gee people….. Find another place to live if you are required to do these inhuman procedures to your animals!

  10. Alexander Hawkeswood says:

    I absolutely believe animals have the right to remain as nature intends them to be. Even better would be for them to live in their natural environments. Domesticating animals can lead to cruelties such as this amputation and debarking thing. I believe neuturing is wrong as well. Animals have the right to reproduce. If they were left in their natural habitats, there wouldn’t be any reasons to carry out these unnatural procedures

  11. Virgilio Carrapa says:

    L’uomo non sa più come sviluppare ancora più crudeltà.A quelli che vogliono fare questa legge gli farei lo stesso trattamento per fargli prendere consapevolezza della sofferenza che viene inflitta agli animali.Così forse sarebbero più attenti a quello che propongono contro gli animali.

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