How we tried to inspire the director/founder of the ANNA Shelter to stop providing declawing in her WELLNESS Centers.

We applaud all the tireless work that the director/founder, staff, and volunteers of The A.N.N.A Shelter do to help animals in Erie, PA.

Unfortunately The ANNA Shelter also performs and profits from declawing in their WELLNESS Centers.

As far as we know, there are only 2 animal shelters in America that perform declawing in their Wellness Centers/Clinics. The other one is the Houston Humane Society.

Declawing is inhumane, mutilating, and always harms the long term health and well-being of a cat.

Declawing is banned in 42 countries and not performed in most of the other countries of the world.

Declawing is banned in New York State (July 2019), 8 cities in CA, St Louis, and Denver.

VCA Hospitals and Banfield banned declawing in their clinics in Jan. 2020.

American Assoc. of Feline Practitioners and American Animal Hospital Association are strongly opposed to declawing.


We tried to inspire Ruth Thompson, director/founder of The ANNA Shelter, in 2018 to take a stand against declawing and stop providing it in her WELLNESS Centers but she just gave us excuses to not stop.

We were respectful and educational in our emails but she ended her email with this statement, “I don’t like being bullied any more then you do.”

Not once did we threaten or bully her. We tried to educate her about declawing and how it doesn’t guarantee a cat will stay in a home and in fact many cats are relinquished to shelters/rescues because of the behavioral issues they develop from their toe bone amputations.

In 2018 Ruth said she had 2 veterinarians who declaw cats and in 2020 she said she has 3 veterinarians who perform declaws. According to employees who work at the ANNA Shelter Wellness Centers, Dr Jessical Bahl, Dr Jean McInerney, and Dr Sarah Zeigler perform the declaws.

We tried to inspire Ruth in a couple emails in 2018 and this is what she said about why her WELLNESS Centers perform declaws. “We try not give an opinion one way or the other. We use scratching posts and put flyers in the adoption packs for soft paws and trim the cats nails before they leave for their new homes. We really do truly care about the welfare of the cats – but with 141 at the shelter right now and at least 12 to 15 calls a day about people wanting to bring more in and the overwhelming feral cat dilemma nationwide – I guess if I had to pick a life in a shelter, starving on the street or worse yet ending up in a kill shelter and being euthanized – I would choose to be declawed and live in a home. I know that sounds strange but the problem is so much bigger then even I imagined 15 years ago when I opened the shelter. The number of unwanted cats in this country is an epidemic and every shelter I know of is full. So if someone is willing to adopt a cat and the only way they’ll do so is to have it declawed…I guess it’s the lesser of the other evils I listed above.”


In May 2020 we sent her a polite and educational email to try to inspire her to protect cats from this cruelty and harm by not providing declawing in her WELLNESS Centers but she just made excuses.

We sent her new data, studies, and information that proved how bad declawing is for cats and how it doesn’t guarantee a cat will stay in a home and told her in fact, the opposite often happens where declawed cats are abandoned because of the behavioral issues they developed from their toe bone amputations.

We sent her links to these printable brochures to use at their shelter and even offered to pay for printing them.

 
Also, here are some FACTS to her accusations in her email below.

1) We did a nationwide campaign to inspire pet stores to only use Adoption Partners who don’t condone and perform declawing and it was very successful. Pet Supplies Plus, Chowhound, and Petco did the right thing and only have Adoption Partners who put the welfare of cats first and who don’t condone and perform this inhumane amputation procedure on their innocent and vulnerable cats.

We started the campaign after we were told about a rescue in Schnecksville, PA that was advertising declawing on their website and that was in a Petco store. We asked Petco if they are ok with their adoption partner condoning and advertising declawing and they wrote us back and said, “Petco and the Petco Foundation do not support the practice of declawing unless it is a medical necessity. We have reached out to (name of rescue) to express our concern with their listing declawing as a service and let them know that we prohibit the promotion of declawing in Petco stores. A representative from the organization has agreed to no longer promote declawing and will remove the information from their website and other materials.”

(The only pet store that didn’t want to be part of the solution to help end this cat cruelty by using humane adoption partners who don’t condone and perform declawing was Petsmart.)

We never made any calls to places that sponsor the ANNA Shelter and suggested or demanded that they stop. We asked Ruth to give us specifics about her comment but she never did.

The ANNA Shelter was showing their cats in the Erie Pet Supplies Plus so the store replaced them with a rescue that is against declawing and has adopters sign a no-declaw contract.

2) We never deleted any of Ruth’s comments on our facebook page and in fact have saved all of them.

Here are Ruth Thompson’s, the director/founder of the ANNA Shelter, two emails that she sent to us.

May 30, 2020.

“Quite honestly…I think a lot of your message is lost in the delivery.  Or as my dad used to…”It’s not WHAT you say…but HOW you say it”…if that makes sense at all.  To go around making phone calls to places that sponsor us and suggest or demand they stop, in my opinion, makes you come off as a bully and someone who doesn’t fully grasp the reality of owning/working/and truly saving animals lives day in and day out.  I wish you could spend a week in a true no kill shelter like mine and see how many animals are abused, neglected and unwanted.  I think it’s funny that after your pitch to Pet Supplies Plus corporate got us “kicked out” of their stores – the shelter they replaced us with has had numerous animal cruelty charges against them and the veterinarian on their Board of Directors does declaw routinely at her privately owned clinic.  But I’m not a trouble maker and have a lot more to do actually saving animals lives that I’ve let it go and wished them luck.  We just advise our supporter to not patronize their stores.

 

As I’ve explained to you before our shelter doesn’t “promote” declawing.  That word has meaning and it’s not correct in this situation.  Yes our clinics declaw.  3 of our 6 veterinarians on staff offer that surgery.  As I’ve told you before the procedure and their techniques are not barbaric – we use state of the art equipment and ample pain medication to make it as easy as possible as well as have parameters in place on what cats they will declaw and when they won’t do the surgery – i.e. age, weight, etc.  Just like being ProLife or ProChoice – I don’t take a stand either way as either would effect the animals in my care and their lives are too precious for me to make that statement publicly.  My personal opinion is just that.  I’ve been asked to ban Pit Bull adoptions; not participate in TNR; etc.  And to take it one step further…spay/neuter (ear tipping on feral cats) are ELECTVICE SURGIERS that cause pain and suffering and could even cause death – yet all of us in the shelter community wouldn’t imagine NOT doing it.

 

Honestly, I blog with over 120 other shelter directors/managers across the county and your organization has come up in a few conversations.  The advise I had been given was to “say what she wants to hear…and she’ll go away” but that’s not my style.  I appreciate your passion for your cause and dedication to it (quite honestly I’m envious of the time you have to pursue your crusade) and I respect your right to your opinion.  I just think your approach needs reevaluated.  Using generalizations and half truths aren’t fair or accurate…I’ve seen bits and pieces of my responses to you posted but none at length.  I’ve even had my comments and responses to yours deleted from your page…but all of that’s ok.

 

So at least to set the record straight – I – the ANNA Shelter or our Wellness Centers – do NOT PROMOTE declawing.  We offer alternatives; explain the surgery and its difficulties; but ultimately let the pet owner make the decision for THEIR pet living in THEIR home.

 

Thanks – Ruth”


 

She also sent us this response on May 31, 2020.

“Something for you to think about…

It’s Sunday morning a 8am and I’m driving to the shelter to medicate 38 of the 107 cats in our care who have either upper respiratory issues or need pain meds post surgery (2 hit by car and one had to have his front leg amputated after being tortured by some neighborhood kids)…and I was thinking about your email yesterday and how I just don’t think you and I are on the same page…here’s how our May played out…

 

Currently – we have 54 dogs, 107 cats, 44 kittens in foster, 3 Guinea pigs, 4 goats, 4 horses and a pig in rescue.  31 of these animals came in from our over active Cruelty Division – of those 31 – 2 dogs had Drain-O poured all over their bodies during a domestic dispute suffering 3rd degree burns over 70% of their bodies; an 8 week old kitten was found in alley duct taped like a burrito so tight he has 2 broken ribs and a broken leg; 2 horses were left in a small barn after their owners moved out of the area…4 months later they were finally discovered near death but are safe with us now.  I lay in bed at night and think of all of the animals that rely on us for their daily survival…or walk through the shelter and see the fear and uncertainty in their eyes when they just have been brought in…or I spend countless hours trying to convince an animal that has every reason to distrust humans that we’re not all bad…it can consume me.  All of this as the world is facing a pandemic that has cancelled all of my fundraisers (which make up 40% of my budget) – thankfully our community is continuing to support us but it’s been scary to say the least – and I realize we are caring for animals and when you’re worried about paying your rent the last thing you can do is donate to an animal shelter.  So ya, I’m dealing with financial concerns too…but that takes a back burner when I walk in the shelter EVERY DAY and focus on caring for the animals…I don’t worry about money…my faith is strong.  However,  compassion fatigue is real.  I don’t expect you to understand my world but I’m hoping this helps you to respect it a little more.  We are “boots on the ground”.

 

So I don’t honestly have the energy, time or finances to commit myself to a cause such as yours but since YOU do here a few things I would like you to consider:

 

*I know of 12 shelters/rescues/foster based networks that don’t/won’t take a stand on declaw right within my tri-state area.  So when you say just my shelter and one other allow post adoption declaws – I know your information isn’t correct.  Maybe do some better research before rallying your troops.

 

*14 veterinarians in the Erie are ALONE do declawing DAILY – I’m sure country wide that number is much higher.  Posting the names of private individuals or their clinics who are making six figures a year FOR PROFIT seems more of the way to go to champion your cause rather then trying to get large multi-million dollar companies to boycott helping NON PROFITS fulfil their mission.  And check into those veterinarians and how they are affiliated with other shelters/rescues – ie Board Members, running their clinics, etc who do declaw.

 

*Lastly, use your time to lobby EVERY state to BAN DECLAW.  I would think if I had the time you do – that’s what I would be doing.  Going straight to the top – making a fuss where it matters.  Putting pressure on those who CAN MAKE A CHANGE so that the rest of us don’t have to make that difficult decision.  Have your followers email, call and lobby their legislatures – not those of us trying to save the animals.  Trying to flood my inbox (only yours and 2 others – so I guess that’s not really “flooding” ) isn’t nearly as effective as going to where someone could actually make this problem go away.

 

So even though my commute to the shelter is only 15 minutes…I had some ideas I wanted to share. 

 

Truth be told, I think you’d actually like me if we ever met…we’ve both dedicated our lives to our passions.  I don’t expect or want a response.  Just reading this and trying to understand where I’m coming from is all I need/want.

 

Ruth”


We looked into those things that Ruth mentioned in her 2nd email and found this.

1) We are reaching out to all the shelters and rescues in the Erie area and in Pennsylvania and are finding that they all have taken a stand against declawing by educating the public about how it’s bad for cats and some even have no-declaw contracts for their adopters. We have listed them at the end of this story.

2) The ANNA Shelter’s WELLNESS Center has the cheapest declaw in the Erie, PA area at $130.  Here’s more about this story. ANNA Shelter has the cheapest declaw in town

3) We don’t work on the legislative part of this cause. The Paw Project does that type of work. If there are call to actions for the bills we often share the PawProject.org’s posts or do a post to alert people about the call to action.

Ruth said, “Putting pressure on those who CAN MAKE A CHANGE so that the rest of us don’t have to make that difficult decision. ”

It’s not a difficult decision to stop performing declawing in her WELLNESS Centers.

The only negative to it for Ruth would be a the loss of the thousands of dollars each year that her WELLNESS Centers make from declawing.

It’s easy to handout educational brochures about how declawing is bad for cats and educate people about how there are easy, humane options.


Declawing positions of shelters/rescues in the Erie, PA area and the state of Pennsylvania.

Central PA Humane Society

Altoona, PA

“ The Central PA Humane Society (CPHS) does not believe in declawing of cats.  We try to educate potential adopters about the long term physical and mental side effects that declawing can cause a cat.   We have a clause in our adoption application that must be initialed that they agree with the statement which reads, “I understand that the procedure of declawing a cat can have long term health and happiness effects, due to the painful and inhumane nature of toe amputation.  I have read this statement and agree that I will NOT have this cat declawed” 

We also offer handouts that further explain declawing and what it actually is.  Many people do not realize the true nature of a cat declaw and are horrified once they are educated about it.    CPHS also has a clause in their adoption contract that the adopter must initial that they will not declaw the cat they are adopting.

 

We do have declawed cats surrendered to us regularly.  We also do have them come in as strays on a regular basis.  If someone wishes to surrender a declawed cat we always ask why. 

If it is a litterbox issue we then talk to the owner about the fact that the cat is probably doing this because of pain and discomfort when using the litter box.  Again a lot of people are just not educated and most often we can have a discussion and the owner is then happy to work with the cat and purchase different litter options to try and see if the litter box issues can be resolved.   A lot of the declawed cats we do take as surrenders do have behavioral issues. In some cases where the cat has extreme aggressive behavior we will do xrays of the paws, and we have done some surgeries to repair splintered paws and bone growth defects from a botched declaw.  We are happy to say that these cats we have adopted post surgery and have not had further issues. “

Theresa Shirley
Shelter Manager CPHS  


Erie Humane Society

Erie, PA

 

The Erie Humane Society is progressive in continually advancing our knowledge on providing the best care possible for all pets in our community. We firmly believe through research and the knowledge we maintain from working each day with stray and neglected pets that many people falsely assume that declawing their cat is just like trimming your nails or getting a manicure. In reality, it is a painful and permanently crippling procedure. We have found through studies and discussions with veternarians that declawing a cat is the equivalent of cutting a persons fingers off at the first knuckle. This is not a practice we choose to condone at the Erie Humane Society. The Erie Humane Society staff is working to become a certified Fear Free shelter and through abundant education we understand that clawing is a natural, healthy and important behavior that can be conducive to their well being if given the appropriate outlets.”

Only 10% of the cats surrendered to the Erie Humane Society are front declawed and of those cats most have behavioral issues with biting and not wanting to use the litter pan. We do work actively with those cats to try and rehabilitate their behaviors but we do understand that can be challenging as this typically is trauma induced possibly through phantom pains or potentially surgery that was not performed correctly by experiencing bone regrowth etc.”

Nicole, Executive Director EHS


Orphan Angels Rescue Cat Sanctuary and Adoption Center

Erie, PA

“Orphan Angels believes that declawing is inhumane and is never in the best interest for the cat. We do not allow any of our adopted cats to be declawed, it is in our adoption contract.

Declawing is a digit amputation that is non-therapeutic. The procedure removes the last bone in the foot. Not JUST the nail is being removed. It is a major surgery that some never get over. It causes more harm than good by causing chronic pain, lameness, nerve damage, etc. Because of this pain cats then avoid the litterbox.

Over and over we see owners surrender their cats due to behavioral issues. Due to the chronic pain, cats will then avoid the litterbox causing damage to owners’ property.

Our shelter is very firm to not adopt to an owner that plans on declawing. Instead, we prefer to educate with alternative options. Unfortunately, the truth of declawing has not yet become common knowledge for feline owners.

We would like for that to change. We stand firm and strong against declawing and hope that one day it is not even an option so that we can rest easy knowing our beloved shelter cats that get adopted do not face this devastating procedure that can weigh so heavy on their future of being abandoned, yet again.

It is my understanding that other shelters in our community have the same beliefs. The Erie Humane Society too does not condone declawing for their adopted kitties. It is very encouraging that other shelters stand with us in regard to declawing. Together we can continue to save cats from experiencing a painful and an unnecessary surgery. “

MaryGrace Lacoste
Executive Director


Because You Care Animal Rescue

Erie, PA

“We counsel adopters at the time of adoption, explaining what declawing involves and discouraging them from declawing.”

Kristine Steiner
Executive Director


Centre County Paws

State College, PA

 

“Our volunteer Adoption Counselors discuss the reality of declawing and use that information to strongly encourage adopters and visitors to seek alternatives to declawing. We like to also direct visitors to our website and various other great sites like Jackson Galaxy’s YouTube channel for more information. https://centrecountypaws.org/resources/behavioral-education/declawing-alternatives”


Huntingdon County Humane Society

Huntingdon, PA

They educate adopters on alternative choices and said if an adopter mentions that they want to declaw, they will discuss how it is bad for cats. They said it is not something they see or hear much about in their rural area.


Mending Hearts Animal Rescue

Hollidaysburg, PA

 

“Our policy is we will not adopt a cat over 1 year if the new potential owner plans in declawing. Under 1 year, we do stress what’s involved. I personally have told folks that I think everyone should watch a video of what’s involved before making the decision.”


Here are the emails our Exec. Director sent to Ruth Thompson.

May 30, 2o2o

Hi Ruth,
 I hope you are ok and doing well during this health crisis.
 
I was hoping that you would have been keeping up on the latest about this inhumane amputation procedure and choose to take the humane path and stop declawing but I sadly see that you are still offering declawing services at your Wellness Centers.
 
I wanted to send you some new data and facts that might help you do the right thing and put the welfare of cats first.
 
You told me that if you had to pick a life in a shelter, starving on the street or worse, being euthanized, you would choose to be declawed and live in a home. You said that declawing is the lesser of the other evils that you listed.
 
Can you please send me your data that shows that declawing will keep a cat in a home and that a shelter has better luck getting cats adopted if they allowing them to be declawed. There is no date or studies that show those things from what I’ve seen.
 
Remember there are only two shelters in America who perform declawing and who have it listed as a service on their website.
Your shelter and the Houston Humane Society.  
All the other shelters in America educate people about the facts about declawing and how it’s really bad for cats and they give them info about the easy humane options.
 
We recently educated another shelter, The Animal Shelter Society in Zanesville, OH about the facts about declawing and how it always harms a cat’s long term health and well-being and they stopped providing declawing services at their shelter. They knew better, and did better. 🙂
 
I also gave them these printable brochures to use at their shelter.
 
 
 
Also the Calhoun County Animal Shelter also recently stopped declawing. Here’s more about this story. http://citythekitty.org/a-michigan-shelter-owner-with-a-masters-degree-who-condones-declawing/
 
 
 
Since we had a discussion about your shelter declawing cats at your Wellness Center’s, a lot has changed.
 
New York State banned declawing last year. They haven’t seen more cats in shelters.
8 cities in CA and Denver banned declawing. They haven’t seen more cats in shelters, in fact the amount of cats relinquished and in shelters has gone down after the bans.
 
When you EDUCATE people about how declawing is really bad for cats and teach them about the easy, humane options, most cat owners will take the humane path.
 
VCA and Banfield stopped declawing in all their vet practices nationwide earlier this year.
 
Here is what VCA said, “Studies have shown that if an owner is intolerant of a cat scratching the couch, it is likely that same owner would be intolerant of the cat not using the litter box or beginning to bite harder and with increased frequency.
Why do cats stop using the litter box and begin to bite? When a cat comes home from having the declaw surgery, that cat might go to use the litter box and find the experience very painful to its recently amputated toe nubs, and then might subsequently decide never to use the box again. That same cat might also begin to bite because it feels that is the only way it can protect itself. Most owners won’t insist on declawing their cat if they understand that declawing is linked to other, far worse, behavior problems than the scratching ever was. 
It is a common misconception among veterinary professionals that scratching behavior is one of the most common reasons for relinquishment of cats to shelters.  Our experience and that of shelter operators has taught us differently.  Other problems, house soiling and aggression, are listed as the top two behavioral reasons cats lose their homes. Scratching behavior is far down the list, right next to reasons like the cat requires too much attention, and scratching is rarely a reason given for relinquishment.”
 
Here is VCA’s 2020 full declawing position statement- http://citythekitty.org/vca-animal-hospitals-stopped-declawing/
 
Here is what Banfield’s 2020 declawing position says,”Current evidence does not support the use of elective declawing surgery as an alternative to relinquishment, abandonment, or euthanasia.”   Link to it- https://www.banfield.com/pet-healthcare/additional-resources/article-library/veterinary-services/declaw-policy-statement
 
 
AAFP, American Assoc. of Feline Practitioners came out with a new declawing position statement that said, “There is no current peer-reviewed data definitively proving that cats with destructive behavior are more likely to be euthanized,abandoned or relinquished. The decision of whether or not to declaw should not be impacted by these considerations.”  Link to their statement- https://catvets.com/public/PDFs/PositionStatements/2015-Declawing.pdf
 
Will you please consider doing the right thing and put the welfare of cats first and stop performing this inhumane and unnecessary amputation procedure at your “Wellness” Centers? We will celebrate your ethical and humane decision and most likely you will get many more supporters and donations for truly caring about the welfare of innocent cats.
 
I can help you with any concerns that you have and also put you in touch with some shelters/rescues who have never allowed declawing and who don’t have issues getting their cats into homes.
 
Thanks Ruth and I hope to hear from you soon,
Lori Shepler
————————————————-
May 31, 2020
 
Hi Ruth,
Where do I start with your note. It’s filled with a few inaccuracies and lots of deflections, not to mention you didn’t address the most important question I had for you.
 
There is no doubt that we both have dedicated our lives to helping innocent animals.  There is so much we have in common.
 
When you say that you don’t have the energy, time, or finances to commit to this cause, all you have to do is stop performing this inhumane amputation procedure at your Wellness Clinics and print out the brochures I sent you and teach people the facts about declawing and about the easy, humane options when they adopt a cat from you.
 
I asked you the most important question which you never addressed.
 
Send me your data that shows that declawing will keep a cat in a home and that a shelter has better luck getting cats adopted if they allowing them to be declawed.
 
My campaign to inspire pet stores to only use Adoption Partners who don’t condone and perform declawing was very successful. Pet Supplies Plus, Chowhound, and Petco did the right thing and only have Adoption Partners who put the welfare of cats first and who don’t condone and perform this inhumane amputation procedure on their innocent and vulnerable cats.
 
I started it after I was told about a rescue in Schnecksville that was advertising declawing on their website and that was in a Petco store.  The only pet store that didn’t want to be part of the solution to help end this cat cruelty by using humane adoption partners who don’t condone and perform declawing was Petsmart.
I never made any calls to “places that sponsor you” and suggested or demanded that you stop. Please give me the specifics about this. Someone may be using my name and calling people who you are referring to.
 
 
Also I never deleted any of your comments from my pages. In fact I kept the only one that I saw that you posted on your FB page to me. Is this what you wrote? (attached jpeg) The only time I delete something from my page is if someone is threatening or uses bad language. I can’t keep up with monitoring all the comments on my pages so let me know where you posted a comment. Was it a recent comment?
 
Because you refuse to accept the facts about declawing, it makes you come off as someone who doesn’t fully grasp the reality of how this inhumane amputation procedure always harms the long term health and well-being of a cat no matter how it is performed.
 
The fact that you brought up spay/neutering to make your point and compare it with declawing shows that you haven’t educated yourself about the facts about declawing or you just don’t care how this procedure harms the welfare of cats. Spay and neutering help with animal over populations, they also have some health benefits and they also help reduce the number of animals in shelters.
Big difference between the mutilating amputation procedure that harms a cat’s long term health and well-being and causes many cats to be thrown away to shelters and euthanized because they can’t find new homes.
 
I wish you could spend a week working on this cause and see how many cats are harmed, suffering, and have lost their homes BECAUSE of being declawed.
 
 
You deflect from the issue at hand which is you perform and advertise this cat cruelty on your website by bringing up the issues with Orphan Rescue. If they had animal cruelty charges that were valid then why weren’t they shut down? Do you think two wrongs make a right?
 
If you have declawing listed on your website, that is promoting, advertising, performing, and condoning it.
Why are you stuck on the word “promote?”  If I have something listed on my website then that means I’m promoting it to people who go to my website.
 
As far as you getting advise from other shelter directors who I’ve had contact with about this issue… there have only been 4 shelter directors who support and perform declawing at their shelters. Two of them have stopped because they now know better.
So when you say, “We offer alternatives; explain the surgery and its difficulties,” is that saying what you think I want to hear so I will go away?  That’s not what our researchers have found about your shelter and wellness centers.
What are the “difficulties” that you or your staff or vets tell people about?
 
As far as your 2nd email. I’m not taking away from all the work that you do to help animals and I don’t dislike you.  I know about the great work you do. You are a hero for dedicating your life to helping animals.
 
But unfortunately you also support harming and mutilating cats by allowing and performing declawing at your WELLNESS centers.
 
You should at least put a disclaimer next to that name since that’s false advertising by saying they are “Wellness” centers when they perform a very inhumane and unnecessary amputation procedure that harms a cat’s long term well-being.
 
I work on this cause full-time because I am trying to protect cats from this inhumane and barbaric cruelty from people who should know better and do better.
Veterinarians who took an oath to ease the suffering in animals and not cause it.
Shelter directors who should protect innocent cats from this inhumane and unnecessary cruelty.
 
I’ve sacrificed an award winning photography career and used a lot of my life savings to work on this cause and help end this animal cruelty.
 
I haven’t taken ONE day off from this cause in 6 years so you don’t have to remind me about what it’s like to help save animals on a daily basis.
If you saw what I saw on a daily basis, you would want to do your part to help end this barbaric cat cruelty.
 
From what we’ve found, there are only TWO shelters that declaw cats in their shelter clinics. Yours and Houston Humane Society.  If you have found any others, let me know.
 
Yes there are some shelters/rescues in America who don’t take a stand and we are trying to educate the public about how declawing is bad for cats and how cat owners can use the easy, humane options. They don’t have it on their websites as a service and as far as we know they don’t promote it on their social media pages.
 
As far as legislation, I share the posts and info about legislation in different states. Before the coronavirus there were many bills to ban declawing that were introduced and looked like they had a good chance to pass. Now everything has been stopped because of this virus.
The Pawproject.org works on the legislation. I educate the public with campaigns and also shine light on how declawing vets and shelters advertise, perform, and lie about declawing.
 
Ruth, you aren’t that old and have the ability to accept facts over myths and antiquated beliefs or rituals.
It’s not too late for you to realize that what you are doing is very wrong and you have a chance to be a humane shelter director who doesn’t perform this inhumane and mutilating amputation procedure in your clinics.
It is truly shocking to find an animal shelter/rescue in 2020 that is still doing such a cruel and harmful procedure on cats.
 
You don’t seem to want to accept all the data and info that says that declawing doesn’t guarantee a cat will stay in a home, in fact there’s data that shows a person who declaws their cats will be more apt to throw them away when they stop using the litter box or develop behavioral issues because of the discomfort and pain their paws.
 
Innocent cats’ lives are at stake here. I completely sympathize with the animal cruelty and abuse that you see.
I see the abuse, harm, and cruelty on a daily basis that is being done to cats when they are declawed. Declawing is animal cruelty.
It is no different that all the abuse and cruelty that you see.
Just because it is done with pain meds in a veterinary office doesn’t make it humane and ok.
Surely in your heart you can’t believe that this amputation procedure that mutilates a cat and harms their long term health and well-being is ok and right.
 
When you don’t take a stand and do your part to speak out against this unnecessary and brutal attack on cats,  then you are part of the problem.
Your area of the country, like many others, does in fact need a lot of help and I feel for the animals in your community. They could all benefit from more kindness and care.
When you do your part to help end this cat cruelty, it’s a big step in the right direction.
 
You are a leader in animal advocacy Ruth. People listen to you. If you were to stop declawing, tell your vets and staff to educate people about how bad it is and teach people about the easy, humane options, things will change and less people will go to those 14 vets in your area to have their cats harmed and mutilated.
Easy steps to show your supporters that when you know better, you did better and truly care about the welfare of innocent and vulnerable cats.
 
I can help you with this. I can put you in touch with shelters who have no issues adopting out all their cats and just educate adopters about this inhumane amputation procedure.
I’d love to give you lots of accolades and help you get your cats in homes.
 
But right now, people in your community are seeing that you perform declawing and allow it at your shelter and wellness centers for convenience to the owners.
 
I’m getting many notes from people in your community who are shocked and saddened about finding out about this. Some of them didn’t know that your shelter performs declawing and some didn’t know how bad it is for a cat.
 
You can make a difference if you wanted to Ruth. And it truly would have save lots and lots of cats from this animal cruelty. How can you believe in your heart that amputations are ok and that it’s ok to make cats silently suffer from walking on those amputation sites for the rest of their lives, just because they are in a home?
 
Please go to the Facebook pages and see how many declawed cats are dumped every day by their uncaring owners who declawed them for weak excuses. Their faces show betrayal by humans who should have cared but didn’t.
Declawed and Dumped, Declawed cats betrayed by veterinarians, and Declawed cats for adoption/NY area are some of the many FB pages dedicated to helping declawed cats who were dumped by their owners. Also, Petfinder has thousands of declawed cats who are looking for homes.
 
I attached the chart with the DATA from shelters that show how banning declawing didn’t cause an increase of cats in shelters and in fact the amount of cats in shelters decreased after the bans. Same for NY state and Denver who have banned declawing. Education works!
 
Here’s a recent peer reviewed study that proves that no matter how declawing is performed, it causes long term harm to a cat. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28534655/
 
Thanks,
Lori
My FACTS vs MYTHS section has the studies and data in it that will show you why declawing is bad for all cats and wrong. Also, the printable brochures with the facts and humane options are at the end of it. http://citythekitty.org/declawing-facts-vs-myths-humane-options/
 
 

Here are a couple notes I received from people who run shelters/rescues and maybe their position on declawing will help you see the light. “Hi City,

I wanted to speak out about Milo’s Sanctuary, Inc. & Special Needs Cat Rescue, Inc. and our declawing policy.

Having been a veterinarian technician and rescuing/fostering cats for over 20 years I can tell you firsthand about the mutilation of these animals for the sake of “convenience”. I saw a declaw performed once and only once. I left the surgery room crying and proceed to head to the bathroom to vomit. The cat woke up in agony and blood soaked bandages. People have argued with me countless times about the different types of declawing procedures and my answer is this, it causes great harm and pain for an unnecessary and extremely painful procedure that should have been outlawed a long time ago. It’s barbaric, cruel and causes these beautiful creatures untoward mental and physical pain.

I have rescued many cats from the shelter and the streets that have been declawed and they are usually scared and sometimes aggressive with litter box issues because they know they are vulnerable and they have no way to defend themselves. Also they come home from the declawing and get into the litter box and it causes them pain to do what comes natural which is to scratch to cover their eliminations. They then associate the litter box with pain, stop using the litter box and end up in the shelter or on the streets.

Many have argued that declawing is better than dying in a shelter. Is it? Is it okay to take an animal amputate their “fingers” and then when they start to exhibit what humans deem “bad” behaviors such as aggression or litter box avoidance they then are euthanized anyway or dumped on the streets or in a shelter. So, how are we as “rescuers” doing them a service by allowing someone to mutilate them for the sake of a “couch”.

There are many ways to train a cat to scratch on appropriate surfaces and by trimming the nails regularly or using “soft paws” you not only save a life but you do something far greater, you end the barbaric practice of mutilation.

Milo’s Sanctuary is a registered 501(c)(3) and we have our potential adopters sign a legally binding contract that states the cat will not be declawed for any reason. If they do declaw the cat (which I have never had happen) we have the right to reclaim the cat and sue them for breach of contract and trust me I would do just that.

I want to introduce you to Lolli Lulu, 16 years old after her human died she was dumped in the shelter for being aggressive and the shelter was going to kill her before we stepped in and saved her life. She is declawed, she will bite anyone who touches her feet and has degenerative arthritis in her front shoulders because when you amputate their toes you change their balance and the way they walk and it causes physiological issues.

Please help to stop this horrendous practice of mutilation and pain!

Thank you,

Michele Hoffman
President”

 
 

Another one, “Dear City,

Our adoption contract stipulates that the cat not be declawed and we have them sign an agreement that if they do they may be financially liable for anything the cat needs relating to the declaw.
Prior to instituting this stipulation, we have had a few returned that were declawed and each one was returned for either inappropriate urination
or biting. They are very difficult for us to adopt out.
Declawing is completely unnecessary.  It is a painful, inhumane procedure with potential lifelong complications. It provides no benefit whatsoever to the cat and does not guarantee that a declawed cat will stay in its home. There are too many humane alternatives to justify continuing this barbaric surgery.
Declawed Mookie’s owners surrendered her to a kill shelter.  It states on the surrender paperwork that the owners claim she began to bite after the declaw. We rescued Mookie three years ago but have not been able to place her due to biting.

Susan Whittred
Patricia H. Ladew Foundation, Inc.
www.theladewcatsanctuary.org

—————————————————————-
June 3, 2020
Sigh. A supporter sent me this comment that you or someone at your shelter wrote about declawing.
 
Ruth, you and your clients are entitled to your own opinions about declawing but not your own FACTS about it. Declawing is bad for cats. That’s a fact. There’s no way to spin it and make it ok for cats Ruth.
It is an act of mutilation that harms the health and welfare of cats.
Here’s the comment. Did you write it?
Hello, you are entitled to your opinion on the declawing of cats (in general or specifically at our Wellness Centers), but we also believe that our clients who choose to have such a procedure done are equally entitled to their opinion…thank you for concern, but consider this – there are many people who believe that spaying/neutering an animal is also “cruel”…they are entitled to their opinions as well…”
 
Ruth. You are in charge of a big animal shelter. This is 2020. There’s no excuse for willful ignorance about declawing if you are an animal shelter director. When you refuse to accept the FACTS about declawing it is very harmful for cats.
How can you not know that spay/neutering are procedures that prevent animal overpopulation and also have some health benefits. They help keep more animals OUT of your shelter Ruth.
 
Declawing is a mutilating and inhumane amputation procedure that always harms the long term health and well-being of a cat. Declawing does not guarantee a cat will stay in a home, in fact many declawed cats are thrown away after they develop behavioral issues from their toe bone amputations. Many are euthanized.
It’s shocking to hear a shelter comparing spay/neutering with declawing.
 
I’m wondering about your comment to me, “We offer alternatives; explain the surgery and its difficulties;” is really true.
Your own employees at your Wellness Centers currently suggest that a declaw is best done with a spay and neuter. Which means it’s a young kitten who hasn’t even been given the chance to prove that he/she will use scratching posts and the humane options.
There’s no mention of alternatives or the “difficulties” when a cat owner calls for a price for a declaw. Your employees just say that you have an age limit and won’t do them over 2 years old and will book the appointment.
 
Come on Ruth. You can do it. You have such a great history of being so wonderful and helpful to so many animals over the years? How can this set well in your heart know that you condone and provide this inhumane and cruel amputation procedure for the public and for people who adopt out your innocent and vulnerable rescued cats? Especially when facts show that this amputation procedure does not keep a cat in a home and often causes cats to lose their homes and be euthanized.
 
We are getting lots of comments from people in your area who are your supporters and are shocked to learn that your vets do this inhumane amputation procedure in your WELLNESS Centers and many had no idea how bad declawing is for cats. At least our campaign is helping to educate people about how this barbaric amputation procedure is always bad for cats.
 
It’s just unconscionable that an animal shelter would perform, condone, and advertise declawing. Yes, it’s advertising Ruth. Right there on your website, “DeClaw.”
Sad, very sad.
 
#KnowBetterDoBetter #BeTheChange
 
 
Take care,

Lori

—————————–

 
June 7, 2020
Hi Ruth,
Sorry this is long but I have some final questions and concerns.
 
A lot of your supporters are writing bad reviews on CtK’s posts saying that they are upset at this campaign and they are worried that you will lose lots of donations.
It’s sad that they are deflecting from the issue at hand and also truly don’t care about all the cats whose lives are being ruined from this inhumane procedure.
 
 I’m not really sure why you would lose donations because of our campaign unless your supporters also don’t approve of your Wellness Centers performing this inhumane amputation procedure.
Doesn’t that tell you something?
 
Also our campaign isn’t about trying to hurt your shelter or take away the good work that you do for animals.
We both have dedicated our lives to protecting innocent and vulnerable animals from harm and suffering.
 
Unfortunately, one part of your amazing animal welfare legacy will be remembered as unnecessarily causing harm to the the long term health and well-being of many innocent cats by allowing your WELLNESS Centers to perform this inhumane and barbaric amputation procedure, I’m sad to say.
 
That’s why it’s so puzzling and concerning as to why you would still have declawing as a service at your WELLNESS Centers in this day and age where all the FACTS, STUDIES, and INFORMATION show that it is really bad for cats and doesn’t guarantee they will stay in a home, in fact proves the opposite often.
 
 I’m wondering what your true concerns are if you stop providing declawing services.
What’s your greatest fear in making this change for the better by truly caring about the welfare of innocent cats? I can help you with any issues or concerns.
 
You told me, “So I don’t honestly have the energy, time or finances to commit myself to a cause such as yours.”
Energy? Your volunteers, staff, and vets just have to hand out a brochure/flyer to adopters and educate them in a couple sentences about how declawing is bad for cats and about the easy, humane options.
 
Time? It takes no time to stop providing this inhumane service in your WELLNESS Centers.
 
Finances? Yes, you will lose some income from performing this cat cruelty but you can make it up in your donations from people who see that you truly care about the welfare of cats by not declawing cats.
 
Also, I can do a fundraiser and get the money you need to print educational declawing brochures and flyers for your shelter and WELLNESS Centers.
 
Remember Ruth, declawing doesn’t guarantee a cat will stay in a home, in fact it often CAUSES a cat to lose their home and many are euthanized because of their toe bone amputation issues.
 
Here’s a recent story about a rescue and declawing. “Hull, a cat behaviorist, said the organization will not have a cat declawed in order for it to be adopted. She said they’ve received numerous requests for this, but explained that declawing a cat, can actually affect the cat’s behavior and temperament. At least 67 percent of all my clients who’ve had declawed cats have had behavioral issues,” she said.”
 
 
 
 You would be applauded for doing the right thing and taking a stand against this cat cruelty Ruth.
 
Cats would be saved from this long term harm and suffering. You would be a leader in animal welfare who showed that when you knew better, you did better by ending this antiquated and brutal amputation procedure in your WELLNESS Centers.
By stopping declawing you would show that you and your veterinarians truly care about the welfare of all cats.
By continuing to offer declawing, you are showing that you truly don’t care about the welfare of cats. That’s a cold, hard fact Ruth.
 
Is there another reason why you don’t want to stop? I would hope that it wasn’t about the easy money that your Wellness Centers are making from this cat cruelty.
 
I’m just curious, did you write the comments in the attached jpegs? 
If you didn’t write that one about spay/neutering , you should educate your social media person about the difference between a procedure that harms a cat’s health and well-being for life and spay/neutering procedures that prevent overpopulation, have some health benefits, and helps it so that there are LESS animals in your shelter.
 
Also, remember, people are entitled to their own opinion about declawing but not their own facts about it.
You know that the facts are that declawing is mutilating, inhumane, cruel, and unnecessary amputation procedure that always harms a cat’s health and well-being for life. Those are facts and not an opinion Ruth. That’s why there are around 9998 shelters/rescues in America who don’t declaw cats at their clinics and only 2 who do.
Yours and the Houston Humane Society.
Their director is stuck in the dark ages, refuses to accept the facts about declawing and how it’s bad for cats, and truly doesn’t care about the welfare of cats.
 

Since you told me this, “12 shelters/rescues/foster based networks that don’t/won’t take a stand on declaw right within my tri-state area,”  we are now doing a lot of research about the declawing position of shelters/rescues in your area.

New York banned declawing so none of these are in that state most likely.
So far we have found three shelters/rescues in your area and all of them are against declawing and speak out against it and/or don’t allow their adopters to perform it on their rescued cats.
 
We’d really like to know of the ones who don’t take a stand on declawing so can you please send us the names of those 12. 
 
The ones that we have found also say that they get lots of declawed cats relinquished to their organizations. These cats are all being declawed in the Erie area.  
 
We are very interested if you ever follow up on the cats that are declawed in your WELLNESS Centers to see if they indeed are still in their homes or if the owners threw them away because of behavioral issues from their toe bone amputations or for some other reasons?
 
 
Remember Ruth, an animal shelter should be an organization that takes a stand to protect innocent and vulnerable animals from cruelty and long term harm and promotes the humane treatment of ALL animals through education, advocacy, and services. 
As I stated earlier, declawing is inhumane, unnecessary, and barbaric amputation procedure that doesn’t guarantee a cat will stay in a home and often does the opposite.
 
 Something really doesn’t make sense for you to still be providing declawing especially when I know that  you know it’s inhumane and very bad for cats. 
 
Hope to hear back from you Ruth about my important questions and concerns.
 
Thanks,
Lori