Story published in October 2021
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) still allows declawing in their AAHA Accredited Animal Hospitals.
Please take 60 seconds and sign our petition to AAHA.org. (You don’t have to donate to change.org to sign it.) AAHA Petition
All the other big veterinary organizations, VCA, Banfield, American Assoc. of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), Mission Veterinary Partners, and Fear Free Pets have banned declawing in their practices. (Fear Free Pets will ban declawing on Dec. 31, 2021.)
If AAHA would also ban declawing, many cats each year in America would be saved from this inhumane, cruel, and unnecessary amputation procedure. It’s our opinion, based on facts and research that AAHA.org doesn’t want to ban declawing because they risk losing membership fees from declawing vets like these. It is also possible that some of the money being paid to AAHA for membership fees from AAHA hospitals that offer declawing is from performing this inhumane and cruel amputation procedure.
As investigative reporters, we wanted to look into how the practices associated with these veterinarians address declawing.
Our researchers made a short phone call asking for the cost of a spay/neuter and declaw, what veterinarians performed the declaws, how they perform them, how often they perform declaws, and if declawing is ok for a cat and their long-term health and well-being.
(We have withheld the names of employees for fear that they might suffer a backlash for their honest answers.)
Here are some examples of how the vets with AAHA Accredited Animal Hospital’s fight to stop the anti-declawing bills and ordinances.
June 2022. Delaware anti-declawing bill. The bill died in committee.
Dr Erin Giebel Whaley, co-owner of AAHA Accredited Animal Hospital, Savannah Animal Hospital in Lewes, DE and President of the Board of Veterinary Medicine for Professional Regulation was one of 5 vets who testified against the anti-declawing bill in Delaware. (Two of the other vets who testified were retired veterinarians who used to own this AAHA hospital.)
An employee at Savannah Animal Hospital said a neuter is from around $500-$600 and a declaw is an additional $200-$300. They use a laser and they say that it is better because it cauterizes, minimizes blood loss and swelling.
The employee said that Dr Clifford Howard, Dr Christine Clark, and Dr Melissa Schwarmann perform their declaws.
The researcher asked if the cats are ok after a declaw. The employee said, “Yes, it’s going to take some recovery and it’s definitely a recovery process.” They said, “The cats usually do pretty well as long as you restrict their activity and give them time to rest their paws.”
The researcher asked if the cats are ok long term after a declaw. Employee said yes.
The researcher asked if they do declaws regularly. Employee said yes.
According to Senator John Walsh, one of the sponsors of this bill, the majority of members of that committee sided with the five pro-declaw vets and their unfounded excuses for declawing. The committee thus chose to not to vote the bill out of committee.
Here’s the link to the full story. Veterinarians From an AAHA Hospital in DE fight to keep declawing legal.
March 2022. Arizona anti-declawing bill. The bill died in committee.
Veterinarian, Dr Julianne Miller, owns Canyon Pet Hospital in Flagstaff, AZ which is an AAHA Accredited Animal Hospital. This AAHA hospital charges $535 for a declaw.
Dr Miller has an Ask the Vet column with the Arizona Daily Sun. Here’s the column with a declawing question. Dr Miller does not want declawing banned. Ask the Vet declawing question
Dr Lynn McEwan of Palmdale veterinary hospital, an AAHA accredited animal hospital, submitted this letter of opposition to the California bill to ban declawing in 2018.
As of Oct. 2021, Dr Lynn McEwan is still declawing cats with his laser. When our researchers asked for the cost of a declaw at this AAHA hospital in Palmdale, CA, the employee asked, “Are you wanting just the front or all four?” A two paw declaw is $242 and a 4 paw declaw is $288. They said that they have two vets who do the declaws regularly, Dr Lynn McEwan and Dr Joseph. Our researcher asked if the cats are ok after a declaw, they said that it takes a little bit longer to acclimate with a declaw but after 3 or 4 weeks they are back to normal.
August 2021. Sheridan, WY anti-declawing ordinance. The ordinance did not pass.
In August 2021, another AAHA veterinarian, Dr Peter Pelissier testified to the Sheridan, WY City Council and Mayor about why he opposes the declaw ban amendment to the animal cruelty/abuse ordinance. Here’s his full testimony. He was not truthful with some of his information. This declaw ban amendment was stopped by a 5-2 vote. One of the City Council members told us that he voted no because of Dr Pelissier’s testimony. Video of how an AAHA Vet Fought to Keep Cruelty Legal
Dr Pelissier owns MountainView Veterinary Hospital in Sheridan, WY. In Sept. 2021, our researchers looked into a cost for a declaw at this AAHA hospital. The employee at MountainView said they require an appointment to discuss the declaw procedure and it’s up to the doctor if a declaw will be performed. When asked if they do declaws regularly the employee said that is something between the doctor and the patient, depending on how the doctor feels after the exam.
AAHA.org updated their declawing position statement in June 2021.