August 5, 2021
We received a heads up in Aug. 2021 about Mikey the cat who was having some issues of biting and aggression, so the owner took this 2 1/2- 3 year old cat to a vet in the Wichita area to have him declawed.
Mikey became more aggressive after his declaw, so a couple months after he was declawed, the owners took Mikey to the Kansas Humane Society for an owner requested euthanasia.
The Kansas Humane Society was not going to euthanize him and they took good care of him.
Mikey is now with Lifeline Animal Placement & Protection (LAPP) in Wichita and is looking for a new home. They say he is friendly and likes people but doesn’t like other cats. Here’s the link to LAPP’s cats.LAPP cats in Wichita
We were also very concerned that there is a veterinary practice in the Wichita area that is declawing cats who are around 3 years old and for this reason so our researchers made a phone call to all the vet clinics in this area and asked for the cost of a declaw for a 3 year old cat, what vet they recommend for the declaw, and if declawing is ok for a cat long term.
What we found is quite sad and disheartening.
We also found that the Kansas Humane Society has two veterinarians on their board of directors. One of them is the Vice Chair of their board and she is declawing veterinarian and the other works at a clinic that doesn’t declaw cats.
We asked the Kansas Humane Society questions about this issue with their Vice Chair since they say they are opposed to declawing and they wrote us back. Their response is posted at the end of this vet clinic survey.
We also reached out to ALL these clinics in the Wichita area and only heard back from the declawing vet, Melanie Summers, who is the Vice Chair of the board for the Kansas Humane Society. Here are some of the things she wrote us after we politely reached out to her with info and asked her about why she declaws cats and a few other questions.
“I was hoping to see if you have information you could send to me. I would love to look through the research you have and also see if you have any type of information on getting declawing, ear cropping, tail docking, and removing dewclaws outlawed.
Our practice is typically correcting declaws and only doing declaws as a last resort if they end up still wanting to do it after they come in for our discussion about other options and would end up somewhere where that don’t do adequate pain meds and education on all the complications, but would love to get more information so we can move that direction. Also if you have any client handouts on alternative options, that would be great too!
In ten years of practicing, i can probably count on two hands the number of declaws or declaw corrections I’ve had to do.
I realized I didn’t give you insight on why veterinarians use the excuse of doing it when when they don’t want the pets to go somewhere else. The way I have viewed it is if I send them down the road To another clinic that is not ending any of it. And instead I just sent them to a place that probably doesn’t do nerve blocks and does guillotine method which results in even more pain and issues.
That’s why we always try to advocate and educate to not do it at all. Ideally if we can get it outlawed, then they have nowhere else to go. So I appreciate the information on the legislation. I will speak to my other vets about this at our doctor meeting next week.” Dr Melanie Summers. Aug. 21, 2021
We received this note on Sept. 22 from Dr Summers. “The three of my four doctors did get together to discuss declawing. The fourth doctor just joined after the meeting so we plan to regroup with our thoughts and continue our discussion. In the meantime, we have added the handout to alternatives to declawing in our cat folders that we go over with owners and new kitten owners. We all have homework of looking into articles over the next month including soft paws since so many of our clients use them. We are no longer scheduling declaws when owners call in. We are now requiring consultations so we can discuss alternatives. Once we get together at our next doctor meeting, this will give my doctors time to formulate all their thoughts, look into research articles, and include our new fourth doctor, we plan to continue with making a final decision. We have utilized all of your information and feel we are headed in a positive direction.”
Why is is so hard for many vets to just do the right thing and stop declawing?
Here’s the survey of vet practices in the Wichita area.
Out of 35 vet clinics in the Wichita area, 23 of them perform this animal cruelty (declawing).
21 clinics said that they would declaw a cat that is 3 years old.
2 of the clinics said an exam is required first to see if the cat is healthy enough for the declaw.
1) Prairie Ridge Animal Hospital
The owner of this animal hospital is Dr Melanie Summers. She is the Vice Chair of the board of Directors for the Kansas Humane Society.
Employee asked, “Were you thinking of 2 paws?”
They said that they usually do front declawing but can do all four paws. A two paw declaw is $425.
They said that they put a lot of effort into their declaw procedures and take precautions to reduce complications. They mentioned they do blood work, IV’s, pain meds, anti-nausea meds, local nerve block, and anesthesia. They said that they use a laser which seals nerves and is more accurate and less pain than the scalpel or guillotine clipper method.
The employee who is a vet tech was asked if a declaw is ok for a cat who is 3 years old. They said that older cats need to have their activities restricted to prevent any issues.
They said that they have a 4 year old cat in their hospital that they recently declawed and her paws are not healing properly and that she is difficult to medicate. When asked why her paws aren’t healing since they had said that a laser is better, the vet tech said, “Because you are dealing with amputations.”
They said that this cat will probably have a little bit of a permanent limp from the declaw.
The veterinarians that they recommended for the declaw are Dr Melanie Summers who the vet tech said does them regularly and has done a lot of them and also Dr Brooke Paolucci.
2) Animal Clinic
Employee asked, “Did you want all four or front two?”
A two paw declaw is $430 and a four paw declaw is $450. They said that Dr Bryan Dotson has been doing declaws for around 30 years, he uses a tool that’s like a nail clipper to “get the whole claw out”, and it’s a common procedure they do. The employee was asked if declawing a 3 year old cat is ok for the cat and if they have an age limit they said, “Oh yea, as long as it’s 8 weeks or older we can declaw.”
3) Heartland Animal Hospital
Employee asked, “ Are you looking at just the front two or all four?”
A two paw declaw on a cat over 7 lbs is $446 and a 4 paw declaw is $520.
They said that 3 out of 4 of their vets do declaws.
Dr Judy Parsons will perform the two paw declaws.
They said that 2 out of 4 of their vets do all four paw declaws.
Dr Gary Breault and Dr Bill Breault perform both the 2 and 4 paw declaws.
They said that they use a laser and it’s better for healing and is less painful. When asked if a declaw is ok for a 3 year old cat they said that the younger the better and there’s more recovery time for older cats.
4) East Central Veterinary Hospital, AAHA Accredited Animal Hospital
A declaw is $650-$700. They said that Dr Shannon Bayliff prefers to do declaws on younger cats but could have an exam for a consult to see if he will do the declaw on a 3 year old cat. The employee was asked what method he uses and they said he clips the toes and claws off.
5) Caring Hearts Vet Clinic
Employee said that Dr Gerri Fraizer, the owner, does declaws regularly along with her son, Dr Dalton Frazier. They will do a 2 paw declaw for $195 and require an exam to make sure your cat is healthy enough for the surgery. When asked if declawing is ok long term for a cat the employee said yes, they have 3 office cats, a 17 year old, a 6 year old, and a 1 year old cat that she declawed and they are fine.
6) East Douglas Veterinary.
The employee said that Dr Garry Cowen does declaws frequently, they have never had a problem with any of the cats, the feedback they get from the cat owners has always been positive, and the younger the cat the better it is in their healing process.
7) Sisters Herndon Veterinary Clinic
Employee asked, “Would it be for two feet or all four?”
They said that a 2 paw declaw is $300 and a four paw declawing is $350. They said that they always do an exam to see if the cat is healthy enough for the procedure. They said that they usually don’t do declaws on cats over 5 years old and said they have 4 vets who do a great job at declaws.
8) Animal Health Center of Wichita.
They said that a two paw declaw is $270 and they do it the most humane way with a nerve block so the cat doesn’t feel their claws being removed. They use a laser after the declaw to promote healing and said it is also used on open wound injuries.
When asked if a declaw is ok for a 3 year old cat, they said that they don’t recommend it for older cats because their bones have finished growing and that the cat might limp around for awhile but will heal. They compared it to frostbite on a human hand.
9) Solomon Veterinary Clinic.
A scalpel declaw is $480. When asked if a declaw is ok for a 3 year old cat the employee said, yes. They said that the younger the cat, the better and sometimes they won’t do a declaw on a heavier cat unless they lose weight. The employee said they had all their cats declawed and they are ok. They said Dr Teresa Burks and Dr Clay Adair are their declawing vets.
10) Wingert Animal Hospital
Employee asked, “Just the front?”
A two paw declaw is $150 plus $25 for pain meds.
A 4 paw declaw is $195 plus $25 for pain meds.
They said that they have 3 vets who declaw, Dr Bart Wingert, Dr Sue Wingert, and Dr Christina Richards. When asked if declawing is ok for a 3 year old cat they said if the cats get outside it can’t climb fences or protect themselves from dogs.
11) West Wichita Pet Clinic
Employee asked, “For the front two or all four?” A 2 paw declaw is $220 and a 4 paw declaw is $270. When asked if a declaw is ok for a 3 year old cat and they said yes. They said that Dr Greg Reichenberger does declaws regularly.
12) Northrock Hospital for Animals
The employee said that they are only comfortable doing a front declaw. They said that all four of their veterinarians do declaws and that Dr Michelle Rypma does them the most frequently, the best, and the quickest.
When asked if a 3 year old cat will be ok after the declaw they said, it depends on the aftercare and they have to re-acclimate to walking differently. They don’t have an age limit for declaws but said that the older the cat, the more invasive a declaw is and the more difficult it is to get used to not having claws. A 2 paw declaw is $348.82.
13) Animal Hospital at Auburn Hills.
Employee said that Dr Gary Stamps does their declaws and it’s $515 for a two paw declaw. When asked if declawing a 3 year old cat is ok for them long term the employee said that the cat is under anesthesia and they recommend and it’s best to declaw younger cats and not older cats. They said they don’t see any patients with medical issues after a declaw.
14) Cimarron Animal Hospital
They use a scalpel for declaws, do them regularly, and when asked if declawing is ok for a 3 year old cat long term and they said yes.
15) Ark Valley Animal Hospital
Employee asked, “Are you just wanting the front two or all four?” A two paw declaw is $110 and a four paw declaw is $150. When asked if declawing is ok long term the employee said it’s an amputation and some cats adapt really well and the younger ones don’t even know they don’t have their claws anymore. They said their vet Dr Julieanne Evans does the declaws.
16) Wellspring Animal Hospital
Their phone recording says they want to give your pet the healthiest life possible.
Employee asked, “Do you want to do 2 feet or 4 feet?”
They said that Dr Heather Albertson uses a laser. Their two paw declaw is $294.01 and their 4 paw declaw is $351. Employee was asked if a declaw is ok long term for a 3 year old cat and they said yes they seem to have no problems and they declaw cats of all ages, from “babies to older cats.” They said a declaw is cutting off the digit.
17) Countryside Pet Clinic and Resort.
Employee said that they have two doctors who use a laser to declaw cats but they don’t do them very often. A two paw declaw is around $600- $700. When asked if declawing is ok long term for a 3 year old cat they said as long as you keep them indoors.
18) El Paso Animal Hospital
Employee asked, “Are you wanting all four or just two?” A 4 paw declaw is $299.38 and a 2 paw declaw is $243.38. They said that they have 8 vets and only 3 or 4 of them will do the declaws and they are really good at it. When asked if declawing is ok long term for a 3 year old cat they said generally yes.
19) Oakcrest Pet Hospital.
Employee asked, “You doing two paws or 4?” and asked if they wanted a spay or neuter with the declaw.
A 2 paw declaw is $577 and a 4 paw declaw is $604. One of the vet techs said that Dr Andrea Hemmen is their declawing vet and she does them a lot. They said that she can do a 3 year old cat since that’s on the younger side but they may have ghost pain and be more sensitive. They said that their declawed cats do pretty well if they are young. When asked if declawing is ok for a cat long term, they said that there can be complications with any surgery.
20) Pet Haven Veterinary clinic
A 2 paw declaw is $200. When asked if declawing is ok for a cat they said they don’t recommend having it done on a cat over 10 lbs or a couple months old but will still do it. They said they don’t have an age limit. They said the declawed cats can get arthritis.
21) SweetBriar Veterinary Clinic
A declaw is $300, they have two vets that do them pretty often, Dr Amanda Jones and owner Dr Lacey Diebold. They said that they like to recommend other options but will still do the declaw and said the cats are ok long term.
22) All Creatures Veterinary Hospital
They said that Dr. Randy Oehmke performs their declaws and does them regularly. They said he will only do front paw declaws.
23) Bogue Animal Hospital. A VetCor practice and AAHA Accredited Animal Hospital
Employee asked, “Is it just the front 2?” A two paw declaw is $400 and a 4 paw declaw is $500. They said both their vets, Dr Greg Bogue and Dr Kara Parsons perform the declaw procedures.
These are the no declaw, ethical practices.
1) Indian Hills Animal Clinic, AAHA hospital
They do not declaw cats and said it doesn’t need to be done to a cat. They said it’s painful and if a cat gets outdoors it is defenseless.
2) Northridge Veterinary Clinic
They don’t declaw cats and said it causes health risks for cats. Employee said that some vets think declawing is ok and some don’t.
3) Wichita Pet Wellness
They don’t declaw and said that it is like taking off the first knuckle. Referred researcher to Bogue Animal Hospital for the declaw.
4) Chisholm Trail Animal Hospital, AAHA hospital
They do not declaw cats. They said that declawing is very invasive and there are other alternatives.
5) Willowbend Animal Hospital
They don’t declaw cats and employee said that they aren’t sure if any vets in the Wichita area will do them. They said that it’s not a humane procedure and not necessary. They talked about why declawing is bad and about the humane alternatives.
6) Village Animal Hospital LLC, AAHA hospital
They don’t declaw cats. They talked about the humane alternatives and said declawing involves chopping off the tips of a cat’s toes and it is painful.
7) Seneca Street Veterinary Clinic
They do not declaw cats and said it’s like cutting your finger off at the first knuckle. They recommended the Cat hospital on Hillside and said that they might perform declawing.
8) Cat Hospital of Wichita.
They do not declaw cats and offer Soft Paws.
9) Skaer Veterinary Clinic , AAHA Hospital
They don’t do declaws and their veterinarians feel it’s not necessary.
10) Hutton Veterinary Clinic
They do not declaw. Employee said it’s like taking off your fingers.
11) Air Capital Veterinary Clinic
They don’t declaw cats and said it’s rare to find a veterinarian who will do it in this area.
12) Kutter Pet Care Center
They do not declaw cats. They are a Mission Veterinary Partner practice and MVP banned declawing in their practices in March 2021.
Here’s the email we sent to the Kansas Humane Society.
“Dear Board of Directors and leaders at Kansas Humane Society,
I’m the Exec. Director of City the Kitty nonprofit and my mission is to help end declawing by educating the public about the facts, data, and peer reviewed studies that show how bad declawing is for cats.
Thanks for all that you do to help save animals in your area. It’s great that your organization is against declawing, educates the public about how it is bad for cats and about the humane alternatives, and saves declawed cats who are thrown away after they develop behavioral issues from their declaw.
One of my supporters sent me a sad and tragic story about Mikey, the 3-year-old declawed cat, who was brought in to KHS by a cat owner to be euthanized because of the behavioral issues he developed after his declaw. I’m happy to hear that a rescue is in the process of getting him from your organization.
Unfortunately, as you all know, Mikey’s story is all too common and supports the evidence that declawing does not keep cats in homes despite the claim many declawing veterinarians make to justify why they perform this horribly mutilating and inhumane surgery.
In fact, the Vice Chair of your Board of Directors, Dr Melanie Summers, commonly declaws cats and currently has one in her practice that is having extreme difficulty healing from her multiple amputations.
We were informed that the cat is 4 years old, difficult to medicate, and that she will likely suffer a permanent limp because of her declaw if and when she recovers.
Dr. Summers and the other veterinarian at her practice, Prairie Animal Hospital, regularly maim cats by declawing them. We were told that she and Dr. Brooke Paolucci routinely declaw cats, have done a lot of them, are okay with doing so to all four paws.
Yes all four!!!! And they even declaw older cats.
One of the employees at Prairie Ridge even said that they take a lot of precaution to reduce complications of declaws and that the laser they use is more accurate and causes less pain than the scalpel or guillotine clipper methods. They TOUT how great they are at their declaws. They talk about how they do blood work, give iv’s, pain meds, anti nausea meds, a local nerve block and anesthesia to try to minimize how they are unnecessarily mutilating a cat’s healthy paws and are harming the long term health and well being of the cat.
There are ALWAYS humane alternatives to this cat cruelty and there’s never an excuse to perform it.
Thankfully the other veterinarian on your Board, Brittany Streif, works at Chisholm Trail Animal Hospital and they are an ethical, no declaw practice that puts the welfare of cats first. The vets and employees at Chisholm educate cat owners about how declawing is really bad for cats and how there are humane alternatives.
We hope you also find this as distressing as we do that Dr. Summers, and her colleague at Prairie Ridge, are doing this horrific and mutilating amputation procedure to cats of all ages without regard to how detrimental this is to their long term well-being.
Given that Dr. Summers and her colleagues at Prairie Ridge are declawing veterinarians in your area, it is plausible that she or one of the other vets at Prairie Ridge could have been the vet who declawed Mikey.
It is also plausible that many of Dr Summer’s former declawed patients have ended up being relinquished to your shelter because of issues related to having had their much needed toe bones and claws barbarically burned off.
Having a Board member that condones declawing and performs this horrible procedure herself certainly doesn’t align well with your mission and I am wondering if you are okay with this or not?
Now that we know better, we do better and that’s what many veterinarians are doing by not performing this cruel, inhumane, and unnecessary amputation procedure on innocent cats.
If Dr. Summers has been keeping up on her continuing education and the latest studies showing how harmful declawing is to cats, then she should know better than to purposefully continue mutilating them for weak excuses or for profit.
If she hasn’t been keeping up with the best medical practices in 2021 then this would be a good time for her to do so.
Either way, is she really someone you are proud to have on your Board of Directors and can trust to give the best advice and recommendations when she is personally unnecessarily mutilating and torturing innocent cats who might even end up at your shelter?
You guys are working so hard to try to help save so many declawed cats who are suffering and in a very stressful situation after their owners brought them to your Humane Society to be euthanized.
Did KHS not know that Dr Summers is a declawing veterinarian? I’m sure she helps you out a lot about other things but this issue is quite concerning to say the least.
What is your official opinion about all of this since I’m doing a story about all the vet practices in the Wichita area and how around 2/3 of them are performing this inhumane amputation procedure on cats?
It sounds like your organization is doing everything you can to try to help end this animal cruelty and Dr Summers and the other vet are performing and profiting from doing this barbaric cat cruelty to cats of all ages.
The poor 4 year old cat whose paws aren’t healing is probably going to end up in your shelter someday soon after she stops using the litter box and has behavioral issues.
Thank you for your time and I hope to hear back from you soon about this important issue.”
Email response from the Kansas Humane Society .
“It is my understanding Dr. Summers and Prairie Ridge Animal Hospital are not advocates for declawing and declaw only as a last resort option and rarely do them. It is my understanding that they consult clients during their first appointment and strongly recommend other alternatives, like enrichment, nail caps and more. Either way her clinic is not an extension of the Kansas Humane Society (KHS) and her personal and professional choices are not a reflection of KHS practices or recommendations.
Regardless of Dr. Summers’ personal or professional views and practices in regards to declawing she is a valuable member of our board of directors and contributes a great deal to the KHS mission and humane animal welfare in our community. Our governing board of directors is made up of 11 to 25 members of the community with varying experiences, professions and opinions. Diversity is important in any successful non-profit board of directors. Board governance, including board member selection, is not at the dictation of staff but the board of directors serving at that time.
The Kansas Humane Society is not an advocate for the declawing of cats and does not preform that surgery in our clinic.
Please let me know if you have additional questions.
President / CEO
Kansas Humane Society”