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Drive for law to ban cat declawing in Colorado put off until 2015

Dr. Aubrey Lavizzo is campaigning against declawing of sats.
Dr. Aubrey Lavizzo is campaigning against declawing of sats.
Aubrey Lavizzo

Backers of a proposed law to ban cat declawing in Colorado are now aiming their effort at 2015.

"We were really not prepared to do it this year," said Dr. Aubrey Lavizzo. leader of the Colorado effort. "We were formed last Fall and this year's session of the state Legislature started Jan. 8. Legislators already had a lot on their plates sponsoring other legislation. So we decided to leave it alone this year."

Lavizzo, the 2011 Colorado Veterinarian of the Year, is part of a group called Paw Project Colorado (www.pawprojectcolorado.com), which believes declawing is a cruel, painful practice that may result in permanent lameness, arthritis and other long-term complications for cats. The parent organization, The Paw Project, started in California several years ago.

Declawing is generally done at the request of owners to stop destructive cats from scratching furniture or their owners themselves. Scratching is a leading cause of felines being relinquished to animal shelters.

Veterinary organizations around the country have been lukewarm, if not in outright opposition, to the idea of a ban. Some of these veterinarians argue that declawing, whil not an ideal procedure, is better than alternatives such as cat relinquishment or euthanization.

Lavizzo said his group is now focusing on two upcoming events.

The first is the March 20 meeting of the Colorado Legislative Animal Welfare Caucus, which was begun to provide legislators with dependable information on animal welfare issues. Lavizzo will be among those making presentations about declawing.

The second is a July 27 event at the Denver Civic Center Amphitheatre called "Celebrate Cats & Community: Five Freedoms Festival". Lavizzo said the event is intended to be "something really positive, not controversial." A focus of the event is an essay contest for students, with prizes, The Five Freedoms, as put forth by the Farm Animal Welfare Council, are: 1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst. 2. Freedom from Discomfort, 3.Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease. 4.Freedom to Express Normal Behavior, and 5.Freedom from Fear and Distress.

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