City the Kitty, the famous internet cat is being silenced and censored in West Michigan for trying to get the truth and facts out about declawing. Here’s a story in the Detroit Free Press about this – Detroit Free Press story
Update- On October 10, 2019, Lamar Muskegon posted this on their facebook page.
October 7, 2019—City the Kitty, the lovable and famous internet cat who has a platform and now a nonprofit for speaking up for all catkind, is embarking on a billboard campaign in West Michigan to educate the public about the perils of declawing in order to help his fellow felines.
The orange polydactyl Manx wants to change the fate of thousands of West Michigan’s cats and kittens by changing the minds of their human parents. He’s determined to educate potential cat adopters on the deleterious effects of declawing.
In July of 2019, City the Kitty nonprofit’s Executive Director, Lori Shepler, started working with a Lamar Advertising senior account executive in Muskegon about locations and designs for her educational declawing billboards.
Shepler was a Los Angeles Times, award-winning photojournalist for 25 years, and she is passionate about shining light on the truth, especially when it comes to this animal cruelty.
After working with a wonderful Lamar senior account executive in Muskegon to get this campaign off the ground, and receiving $4200 in donations from City the Kitty’s supporters, Shepler confirmed the 7 locations for the billboards and signed the legal contract.
On Sept. 30, Shepler paid the full amount of $4200 for the 7 billboards to Lamar advertising.
Shepler finalized the design copy on the two billboards that read, “Cats Need Claws. Declawing is Amputation. Don’t Declaw. Learn the Truth. Citythekitty.org” and “Humane veterinarians won’t declaw cats. Know the truth. Citythekitty.org.”
On October 1, Shepler was informed by a different Lamar advertising sales manager in Muskegon that the two messages in the billboards were too political, they don’t feel comfortable with the “declawing is amputation” statement, they don’t want to get anyone upset, this sales manager said, “there might be a veterinarian out there who loves cats”, and Lamar wants factual information.
This sales manager said Lamar would accept these copy lines, “Don’t declaw. Know the Facts. Citythekitty.org.”
Shepler felt that the whole point about the billboard campaign was to educate the public about the fact that declawing is amputation.
On October 2, Shepler received a voicemail from the VP/GM of Lamar Advertising in Muskegon, Mark Mattison, stating that their position is that the two billboards have misleading statements and won’t run them.
Mattison said, “We feel, you know, “declawing is amputation” is a misleading statement and this isn’t up for debate.”
Shepler spoke with Mattison on the phone after that phone call on Oct. 2, and he repeated that the billboard’s messages are deceptive, subjective, and misleading.
Shepler asked if Mattison has done any research about the facts about declawing and if he knows what a declaw procedure entails and he stated that he doesn’t know. He said, “We don’t feel declawing is amputation.”
Shepler stated that it is a fact that declawing is amputation and Mattison said, “The facts according to you.”
Shepler sent Mattison educational information that proves declawing is amputation and asked for an explanation as to why Lamar feels it isn’t amputation and she never received a response.
On Oct. 4, 2019 Shepler received this email from Mattison.
“Dear Ms. Shepler,
City the Kitty nonprofit is also educating property management companies about declawing so that they will take this barbaric and unnecessary amputation procedure out of their pet policies.
He’s been very successful with this campaign and many companies in Michigan and the Midwest, with hundreds of apartment complexes, have removed the declaw requirement out of their pet policies. However, many companies refuse to do the right thing and stop requiring this cat mutilation procedure in their pet policy. More about this campaign- http://citythekitty.org/property-management-companies-who-took-the-declaw-requirement-out-of-their-pet-policies/
Declawing is a misnomer. It is not a simple procedure. It is the amputation of a cat’s toe bones in order to remove the claws. It is extraordinarily painful and considered inhumane and unethical in much of the rest of the world. In fact, just this summer, New York State banned declawing, with Governor Cuomo calling it cruel, unnecessary, and archaic in his signing statement. No wonder famous internet cats are against declawing!
Why West Michigan? Declawing is a big money making procedure in West Michigan, in fact, only 4 out of the 101 practices surveyed by City the Kitty’s researchers didn’t perform this debilitating surgery.
Survey of 101 West Michigan vet practices- West Michigan Declawing Survey
Studies show that a two paw declaw costs $150-$450 per cat in West Michigan and the average declaw surgery takes around 11 minutes.
Why is declawing bad? Peer-reviewed studies show that declawed cats have more chronic and permanent pain in their paws and backs than their clawed counterparts. They also show that declawed cats are less likely to use the litter box (probably because it hurts their amputated toe nubs to dig in the sand) and are more likely to bite because they have no other way to protect themselves.
Declawed cats often lose their homes because they begin having bad behaviors.
Declawed cats bite more and therefore, declawing does not protect human health.
Attached in this email is also the press release with the story about how City the Kitty was silenced by a declawing animal rescue in West Michigan and how the ACLU of Michigan stepped in to help.
A declawing veterinarian in West Michigan was the impetus for this PPO. Here’s the link to this story- – http://citythekitty.org/city-the-kittys-advocacy-against-declawing-is-entitled-to-the-highest-rung-of-first-amendment-protection-aclu/
Here’s information from the big veterinary organizations about how declawing is amputation.
Declawing – American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)
“Declawing is not just removal of the claw; it is a major surgery involving amputation. Declawing is rarely a medically necessary procedure.”
Declawing – American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP)
“Declawing is an amputation of the third phalanx (P3).”
Declawing – AVMA
“Declawing is the surgical amputation of all or part of a cat’s third phalanges (toe bones) and the attached claws. Most often the procedure involves the front paws only1, but sometimes the claws are removed from all four paws.”