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.
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 by asking for the price of a spay/declaw, which vet was skilled at the procedure, and if declawing is ok for a cat.
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.
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, 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 Advisor Council members
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. AzPetVet Feline Declaw advertisement
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.
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. They are all independently owned.
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.
Madison Animal Hospital. A spay/declaw is $560- $740. They say the cats stay overnight and there are no long terms problems to declawing.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Animal Hospital at Anthem. Researcher asked for the price of a spay/declaw. Employee asked, “Are you doing all four paws or just two?” 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.
Dove Valley Animal Hospital. 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.
Happy Valley Animal Hospital. They said that 5 of the 6 vets do declaws and they do a few a month. Researcher asked if declawing is ok for a cat long term and the employee said, “Absolutely.”
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 Johnsen 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.
Then in September they advertised their Acupuncture services for declawed cats with phantom limb pain.