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Local support for petition to ban declawing of cats

By Angela Brown, Portage Daily Graphic

Staff photo by Angela Brown... Sun is one of the cats available for adoption through Portage Animal Welfare Society.   A representative with PAWS is in support of efforts to help ban the declawing of cats.

Staff photo by Angela Brown... Sun is one of the cats available for adoption through Portage Animal Welfare Society. A representative with PAWS is in support of efforts to help ban the declawing of cats.

The aim behind a petition that started in Ontario to ban the declawing of cats is receiving strong support from a representative with a local animal protection agency here in Portage la Prairie.

"It is in the regular contract that if someone were to adopt a cat from PAWS that it may not be declawed ," said Karla Kirkwood, with Portage Animal Welfare Society, in Portage la Prairie. "The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies views declawing as an inhumane and unnecessary practice. For what is good and what is not good for the welfare of animals, they have set the standard, and we totally agree with that."

"It's not simply removing the cat's claw, it's cutting the last joint," Kirkwood explained. "If it was your finger, can you imagine your last joint being cut off. The pain is horrific. It's such a painful procedure that sometimes they (cats) will refuse to use their litter box afterwards, because they associate the feeling of pain in their paws with using the toilet. So what happens is you will get behaviour changes."

She said many cats that have been declawed will stop using their litter boxes and will start making messes outside of the box instead.

Also, when the cat is declawed, it no longer has a line of defence and is likely to start biting instead.

"It actually causes far more serious problems than a little bit of furniture shredding in my opinion," said Kirkwood. "We at PAWS supply our foster homes with scratching posts for cats, and there are ways you can entice them to use it."

She added there are easier and far more humane solutions to discourage a cat from scratching the furniture than having the cat declawed.

Deidre Wilson, who is the founder of Adopt Me Canada Cat Rescue, founded in 2008, and is based in Mississauga, Ont., is hoping more people will sign her petition to ban the declawing of cats in Canada.

"I am trying to get declawing banned in Canada," she said. "It's already banned in 40 countries. It's such a horrific procedure. I've seen the surgery first -hand myself and I was absolutely mortified. I almost collapsed."

Wilson said many people are not educated about exactly what the surgery involves.

"It disables the cat," she said, noting that 75 per cent of cats have behavioural problems as well as psychological problems as a result of declawing, which is not something that can be corrected.

Adopt Me Canada began its fight to ban declawing in June 2011.

Wilson says that since starting the campaign, she has collected more than 3,000 signatures with an on-line petition and has about 1,000 members in an application called "Causes" on Facebook. Her goal for the petition is to reach 10,000 signatures.

"I have written to the Prime Minister and the Attorney General," she said. "It hasn't really yielded me anything in the lines of getting it banned. Now I am looking to create awareness, to take it to the further step and have it presented at the House of Commons."

The petition is available at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/183/022/603/

abrown@cpheraldleader.com



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