Updated March 2022.

Dr Wayne Anderson, owner of AzPet Vet,  testified in opposition to the anti-declawing bill in Arizona. He said that declaws in his practices are rarely performed, maybe one or two a year. Here’s the full hearing for the bill that starts at the beginning of this video. AZ anti-declawing bill hearing in Senate Commerce Committee 3/23/22

Our research shows that declawing is a routine procedure in many of his practices according to the employees that work there.

Story published in Feb. 2021

Here’s a letter of opposition to the 2021 Arizona Anti-declaw bill, HB 2626, from Emily Kane, the Exec. Director of the Arizona Veterinary Medical Association. (She is NOT a veterinarian.)

She said that she is going to declaw her elderly cat who has kidney issues so that she can give her fluids everyday.

Arizona Veterinary Medical Assoc. letter

Did the AzVMA board of director veterinarians approve their Exec. Directors letter of opposition to this AZ cat protection bill?

Was she trying to protect the financial interests of her veterinarians?

Here’s what we found about these AzVMA board of directors and declawing. 

Our researchers looked into how some of these AZ vet clinics addressed declawing in early 2021 by asking for the price of a spay/declaw, what veterinarians do the declaw procedure, and if declawing is ok for a cat long term.

We have withheld the names of employees for fear that they might suffer a backlash for their honest answers.

Please sign the petition to ban declawing in AZ. Petition

President- Melissa Riensche, DVM.  Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists. They don’t perform declawing.

Pres. Elect- Kara Thomas, DVM. Midwestern University Professor.  Midwestern Univ. companion animal clinic doesn’t perform declawing.

Vice President- Kaylee Yoshimoto, DVM. AzPetVet’s Happy Valley Animal Hospital. According to an employee, five out of six of the vets, including Dr Yoshimoto, do a few declaws each month. A 4 paw declaw/spay is $551.20. Employee said that the cats might be limping for a day or so but they recover and act like nothing happened.

Secretary/Treasurer- Racheal McKinney, DVM.  Equine vet.

Immediate Past President- Al Schleappe, DVM. Owner of Caring Hearts Animal Clinic. All doctors do declaws except Dr Schleappe who is retiring. Employee was asked if declawing is ok for a cat and they said their cat is declawed and is ok. They said that it’s better to declaw a younger cat. A declaw is $432.56.

AzVMA Directors.

Cameron Dow, DVM. Prescott Animal Hospital. This is an AAHA Animal Hospital & 2014 AAHA Practice of the Year. The employee said a few of their vets do declaws including Dr Dow. They recommend doing the declaw before the cat turns 1 year old because the bone plates aren’t fully grown so it’s easier on the cat.

Katherine Riehle, DVM.   According to an employee, she works at the group office of AzPetVet.com, which has 21 vet practices in AZ.  AzPetVet’s website has “Feline Declaw” listed under “General Services (all hospitals).”  Here’s the link. (AzPetVet removed the “Feline Declaw’ words after we published our story. AzPetVet, Feline Declaw

Lisa Schnier, DVM. Works at a Banfield. Banfield Pet hospitals stopped declawing in Jan. 2020. Here’s their declawing position statement. Banfield Declawing Position

Lindsey Smogor, DVM.  Jackpot Veterinary Center.  They said they don’t declaw because it can be bad for a cat, can cause arthritis, and the cats might stop using the litter box.

Sandra Snyder, DVM.  Augusta Ranch Animal Hospital.  They don’t declaw. Asked if it’s bad for cats and they said yes but said it may be necessary if there is an extremely aggressive cat.

Tara-Lyn Temple, DVM. Animal Care Hospital of Phoenix. They don’t declaw and said that that’s a moral and ethical choice by their doctors.

Lauren Thomas, DVM.  Jackpot Veterinary Center. They said they don’t declaw because it can be bad for a cat, can cause arthritis, and the cats might stop using the litter box. 

Christina Tran, DVM. Clinical Relations Lead Veterinarian and Associate Professor at Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine.

Karyn Wesley, DVM. Works at VCA Valley Animal Hospital. VCA stopped declawing in early 2020.


AzVMA’s Advisory Council members 2020-2021

Wayne Anderson, DVM. CEO of AzPetVet.com which has 21 vet practices in AZ.  AzPetVet’s website has “Feline Declaw” listed under “General Services (all hospitals).”  Here’s the link. (The “feline declaw” was removed shortly after we published our story.)  AzPetVet Feline Declaw advertisement

Update March 2022. Dr Wayne Anderson testified to the Senate Commerce committee on March 23, 2022 in opposition to the anti-declawing bill in AZ. Some of the things he said in his testimony were, “We also, on occasion do a declaw procedure. Maybe one or two a doctor might do in a years time.”  “It’s a non-weight bearing bone.” “We use lasers, it’s very successful.” “Cats do not walk on their claws, they walk on the pads of their feet.” “We go over the behavioral changes.” “Most cats do not let their nails be trimmed.” “Those little caps are silly. Those don’t work.” “It’s a very successful surgery, on occasion.” “We don’t do them that often, it’s very rare.”

Here’s the full hearing about this HB 2014 anti-declawing bill in AZ. It starts at the beginning of the video. AZ anti-declawing bill hearing in Senate Commerce Committee 3/23/22

Here’s the link. AzPetVet, Feline Declaw We started doing a survey to see how all the AzPetVet practices address declawing. After looking into 10 of the practices we found that indeed, all of them declaw cats. Not once did any of the employees talk about the easy, humane alternatives on the phone call.

When asked if the cats will be ok long term after being declawed, here are some of the things we heard from employees at AzPetVet hospitals, “They do really well”, “They can’t tell the difference”, “There should be no issues”, “If it’s an indoor cat it won’t affect them.”  (More about some of the AzPetVet clinics below.)

Other AzVMA Advisory council members.

Matthew Goetz, DVM.  MD Petcare Animal Clinic/AZ Animal Welfare League’s clinic. They don’t declaw cats and said it is inhumane.

Thomas Graves, DVM. Dean and Professor at Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine.  They do not declaw cats at their small animal hospital.

James Maciulla, DVM. Associate Dean, Clinical Relations and Outreach at Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine. They don’t have a small animal hospital.

Julianne Miller, DVM. Canyon Pet Hospital.  This is an AAHA Animal Hospital. The employee said they have 4 doctors that do the declaws but Dr Miller does not do them. You have to make a consult exam first and as long as the doctor thinks it is ok to do the declaw, they will do it. A declaw is $535.21.

Peter Mundschenk, DVM.  Dept. of Agriculture veterinarian.


AzVMA’s AVMA Delegates

Richard Panzero, DVM. Retired from River Road Pet Clinic.  River Road Pet Clinic says they don’t declaw cats but refer you to Sahuaro Vista Veterinary Clinic. They say Dr Andy Carlton does the declaws. A spay/4 paw declaw is around $500-$600.

Michael Lent, DVM. Patano Animal Clinic. Employee said Dr Lent has been doing declaws for 30 years, he does them regularly, and there are no long term issues with declawing. Employee said their cats are 3 years old and declawed and they have no issues.


More about AzPetVet.com company. The CEO is Dr Wayne Anderson who is on the AzVMA’s Advisory Council.

We looked into 10 of the 21 AzPetVet practices to see how they address declawing.

1) Arrow Animal Hospital. This was the first AzPetVet hospital in 1984. Our researcher spoke with Dr Stuart Sherrell. He said that he has been doing declaws for 30 years, he uses a radio surgery tool and said there is less pain. He said he has cats with claws and without claws and the declawed cats can’t tell the difference. He said they go outside supervised and climb trees. When asked if there are any long term problems with declawing and he said you never can guarantee it but they usually walk around like nothing happened to them.

This is from their website on Feb. 6, 2021.  Here’s the link. Declaws for cats and dogs

This is from a 2011 Facebook post but they are still declawing. (The facebook post was removed after we published this story.)

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2) Madison Animal Hospital. A spay/declaw is $560- $740. They say the cats stay overnight and there are no long terms problems to declawing.

3) Dodson Ranch Animal Hospital. A spay/declaw is $613.  They have three vets who do the declaws. When asked if declawing is ok for the cat long term they said yes, they take special care of the cat and keep them overnight.

Post from facebook in 2015. (The facebook post was removed after we published this story.) 

4) Roadrunner Animal Hospital. A spay/declaw is $440.60- $540.60. They require an exam first to see if the cat is healthy and the doctor will determine if it’s the right thing for the cat.

5) North Buckeye Animal Hospital. A spay/declaw is $540.60. They have two vets who do the declaw. When asked if the cats are ok long term the employee said they are painful for the first two days but there should be no issues.  The employee ended the call with, “Let us know if you want us to declaw your cat.”

6) Scottsdale Hills Animal Hospital.  A spay/declaw is around $600-$700. They said they do the traditional declaw with a scalpel and that it’s an amputation. They said they have three vets who do the declaws. When asked if declawing is ok for the cat long term they said every pet is different, some might have issues and others are great with it.

7) Animal Hospital at Anthem.  Researcher asked for the price of a spay/declaw. Employee asked, “Are you doing all four paws or just two?” A spay/4 paw declaw is $792.57.  They said that all their vets do declaws but some won’t do 4 paw declaws. They said that they try to discourage declaws because of ethical reasons but they will do them.

8) Dove Valley Animal Hospital.   An employee asked, “Are we wanting to do the front and back?”  A spay/4 paw declaw is $551. They said it’s cheaper when you do the spay/declaw package together and the cost is $440. They said all their vets do declaws regularly. When asked if declawing is ok for a cat long term the employee said if it’s an indoor cat, it won’t affect them.

9) Happy Valley Animal Hospital. They said that 5 of the 6 vets do declaws and they do a few a month.  A spay/4 paw declaw is $551.20.  Researcher asked if declawing is ok for a cat long term and the employee said, “Absolutely.”

According to another employee, five out of six of the vets, including Dr Kaylee Yoshimoto, do a few declaws each month.  Employee said that the cats might be limping for a day or so but they recover and act like nothing happened.

Update March 2022. Dr Kaylee Yoshimoto of Happy Valley Animal Hospital was mentioned in the testimony to the Senate Commerce Committee to answer any questions about the declawing procedure.

This facebook post is from 2011 but nothing has changed and Happy Valley is STILL declawing cats. (The facebook post was removed after we published this story.) 

 

10) Beardsley Animal Hospital.  Researcher asked for the price of a spay/declaw. Employee asked, “Would you wanna do the declaw on all four or just two?” A spay/ 4 paw declaw is $651.20. They said that Dr Russell Johnson does the declaws. When asked if declawing is ok for a cat long term they said typically they are and overall they do ok, but said that it is not recommended since it’s an amputation and sometimes their attitude could change.

This facebook post is from 2011. They advertised their declaw packages in August. (The facebook post was removed after we published this story.) 

Then in September they advertised their Acupuncture services for declawed cats with phantom limb pain.

UPDATE MARCH 2022

WE LOOKED INTO THE REST OF THE AZ PETVET PRACTICES in March 2022.

11) Bell Ridge Animal Hospital, Phoenix.

Employee said a spay/declaw is around $530-$630.  They recommended Dr Starkel for the declaw and said not every veterinarian does declaws. The employee said that she does declaws every once in awhile because not everyone has them done all the time. When asked if the cats are ok long term, the employee said yes and they have the cats stay overnight to monitor them for bleeding. They said they offer radiosurgery for the declaws.

 

12) Surprise Animal Hospital, Surprise, AZ

Spay/2 paw declaw is $518.90. The employee said that all their doctors do declaws. Researcher asked if they do them regularly and the employee said yes. Researcher asked if a cat is ok long term after a declaw. The employee said that they talk to the owners about alternatives because it is taking off the first knuckle. They said they are booking out a couple months for their surgeries.

 

13) Norterra Animal Hospital, Phoenix.

Researcher asked for the cost of a spay and then how much extra for a declaw. Employee asked, “Would it be just the front two?”

A 4 paw declaw with a spay would be around $850.  The employee said all their doctors have been doing declaws for awhile but some of them chose not to do them anymore. They recommended Dr Michelle Horvath and said they believe she is the only doctor who will do the declaws and she is very comfortable with the procedure and have done declaws plenty of times. They said that she does a couple declaws a month and is doing one tomorrow. They said people are starting to steer away from the declaws.

When asked if a declaw is ok for a cat long term, the employee said that it is equivalent to cutting off the first knuckle and is extremely painful. They said that later on in their life there’s a chance that the cat can get aggressive and start biting because they don’t have their claws and they can have pain in their paws. 

 

14) Westbrook Animal Hospital.

A neuter/declaw is $529.

They said that Dr Chris Hummel and Dr Martha Ullman do their declaws.  Researcher asked if the cats are ok long term after a declaw and the employee said that there definitely are risks to the procedure and they offer a pre-op consult to make sure you are aware there are risks. Employee was asked if they do declaws regularly and they said that the doctors have done a lot of them but they don’t do them very often and it’s more rare they do them nowadays.

 

15) Goodyear Animal Hospital.

Researcher asked for the cost of a neuter and then how much extra for a declaw. Employee asked, “Just the two paws?”

A neuter/declaw is around $600.  The employee wasn’t sure which doctors still do declaws. Researcher asked if the cats are ok long term after a declaw and the employee said there are always risks with anesthesia but ask far as not having claws long term, they said yes.

16) Las Sendas Animal Hospital.

The employee wasn’t sure how much they charge for a declaw but said that they do declaws but weren’t sure if all of their doctors do them.

17) Signal Butte Animal Hospital

Researcher asked for the cost of a neuter and then how much extra for a declaw. Employee asked, “Were you wanting to declaw two paws or all four?”

A two paw is $470 and a four paw is $470 also.  A neuter/declaw is around $700.  Employee said all their doctors are familiar with the declaw and can perform them and Dr John Graham is well recommended for surgery and does the declaws.

Researcher asked if their doctors do declaws regularly and the employee said, “They do.”

 

18) Fletcher Heights Animal Hospital

Researcher asked for the cost of a neuter and then how much extra for a declaw. Employee asked, “Front or all four?”

Neuter/4 paw declaw starts at $808.10 and can go up to $1000.88.

Neuter/2 paw declaw starts at $706.60 and can go up to $944.10.

They said that they have doctors that perform declaws and have performed plenty of them.  The cats stay overnight after the declaw. When asked if they use laser for the declaws they said that after the procedure they have radio-cautery that they can use that cauterizes the skin causing less bleeding and inflammation to the area. 

When asked if they do declaws regularly they said yes.

When asked if a cat is ok long term after a declaw the employee said there have been some studies that show they can develop arthritis long term and the doctor can discuss that with you.

 

19) Sarival Animal Hospital, Goodyear, AZ.

They do not perform declaws.

 

20) White Tanks Animal hospital, Surprise, AZ

They said that they only have one doctor that will do the declaws and typically they want to try everything before declawing like scratch posts and sprays. A declaw is around $700 but they try other things before going straight to declawing. 

21) Arrowhead Ranch Animal Hospital, Glendale, AZ

Researcher asked for the cost of a neuter and then how much extra for a declaw. Employee asked, “For all 4 paws or just one?”

The employee said that a front declaw is $383.50 and for all 4 paws is $540 for their “basic package.”  

A neuter/2 paw declaw is $469.60 for their “basic package” or $551 for neuter/4 paw declaw package.

The employee said that all their surgeons on staff are capable of doing the declaws.  The employee was asked if the cats are ok long term after a declaw and they said, yes, they haven’t had problems lately about that.  When asked if they do declaws regularly, they said, “There are a few here and they’re not as often as…”