Story published June 2023.
Please sign our petition! We are almost at 20,000 signatures! Michigan anti-declawing petition
In May of 2023, Michigan State Representative Jimmie Wilson Jr. introduced HB 4674 to ban declawing.
As most of you know, declawing is a big money making procedure in Michigan.
There are even animal rescues that declaw their cats BEFORE they put them up for adoption.
We’ve done many stories about declawing in Michigan.
The Michigan Veterinary Medical Association is the organization that opposes banning declawing. Here is their official statement on why they oppose banning declawing. https://www.michvma.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=207:why-mvma-opposes-cat-declawing-ban-bill&catid=20:site-content
“By John Tramontana, MS, CAE | Chief Executive Officer, MVMA
Last week, a bill to ban cat declawing was introduced in the Michigan House. HB 4674 contains the following language:
“A licensee shall not perform by any means an onychectomy, a partial or complete phalangectomy, or tendonectomy procedure, or any other surgical procedure that prevents normal functioning of the claws, toes, or paws, on a cat, unless the procedure is necessary to address a therapeutic purpose.”
So, why does MVMA oppose this bill?
MVMA will never support any bill or legislation that impedes your ability to practice or infringes upon your scope of practice. The majority of our membership agrees. When this bill was last introduced in 2020, 67% of MVMA members opposed a ban. I want to be clear though, that not supporting a ban does not equate to being pro-procedure. It means that doctors should be making those decisions and not lawmakers. We will fight any legislation that takes animal health and welfare decisions out of your hands.
While two-thirds of members oppose this ban, we also understand this procedure is controversial within our membership with passionate views on both sides. Many of our members have proactively decided to no longer perform any declaw procedures. That is every individual’s decision, and we support it. At the end of the day, veterinarians should be the ones making that call.
MVMA will be opposing this legislation now and in the future. Our job is to advocate for you, so you can do what’s best for animals and their welfare.”
So even if a big percentage of their member vets opposed declawing, the MVMA will still be opposing legislation to ban this animal cruelty? So even if MORE studies come out that show how inhumane declawing is for cats the MVMA will always oppose banning declawing? Isn’t there something to be said about learning and then evolving and doing better when you know better?
Please send John Travmontana a polite note and ask him if 2/3 of their members support banning declawing will they finally support a bill to ban it?
In 2018 the MVMA sent us this note.
|Jul 23, 2018
“Thank you for reaching out and for your efforts to educate the public on the alternatives to declawing. Our Legislative Advisory Committee discussed this again in June and we still agree with the American Veterinary Medical Association’s policy which is at https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Pages/Declawing-of-Domestic-Cats.aspx.
Most veterinarians are not enthusiastic about declawing but many cat owners will not keep their animals unless they are declawed. Our shelter veterinarians tell us that the most likely outcome for cats relinquished to shelters is euthanasia so we feel that this should be an option for pet owners, particularly when it comes down to whether they are considering getting rid of the animal.
In terms of resources, we are a tiny 4-person staff that is basically here to assist and serve our veterinarians. We put on continuing education events and try to keep them up to date on current issues, emerging diseases, etc.
Karlene Belyea, MBAChief Executive OfficerMichigan Veterinary Medical Association2144 Commons Parkway Okemos, MI 48864 (517) 347-4710 email@example.com
We sent them a reply and asked them if we could get the data that shows that if cat owners can’t declaw them then they will relinquish their cats to shelters but never heard back from them.
We surveyed some of the MVMA director’s vet clinics to see how they address declawing. The results are below in our story. We also did this story in 2019 about the MVMA directors and declawing. Fact: 11 out of 14 vets in leadership in Michigan’s vet med association make big bucks declawing. Do cats stand a chance?
1) President of the MVMA Larry Letsche with Remrock Farms Veterinary clinic.
Researcher asked for the cost of a declaw and the employee asked, “Are you looking at the front two or the four?”
Employee #1 said a 2 paw declaw/neuter is $250 and a 4 paw declaw/neuter is $285. They said that Dr Letsche does the declaws regularly.
They said the cats are ok long term as long as they don’t go outdoors. They said that there is a push in Michigan to pass a law to eliminate declawing.
Employee #2 said that Dr Larry Letsche does not declaw cats anymore. They said that Employee #1 is really new and didn’t know.
Researcher asked why he doesn’t declaw cats anymore and the employee said, “It’s going to be banned, so he just doesn’t.” Researcher asked if declawing is bad for a cat and the employee said, “Some people think so” and “A lot of the animal rights people feel it is bad, so they got enough signatures to pass it.”
Researcher asked if Dr Larry thinks it’s bad for a cat and the employee said, “No, I don’t think he thinks it’s bad, it’s just going to be banned so he doesn’t do it.”
She said that he hasn’t done a declaw for years.
2) MVMA delegate for the AVMA, Stephen Steep with Oxford Veterinary Clinic.
They said that they don’t declaw cats and it’s not as popular anymore because the recovery time is pretty hard on the cat.
3) Pres. Elect. Dana Tatman-Lilly is a Fear Free Certified associate veterinarian at Four Seasons Veterinary Services in Brighton
Link to her on Fear Free’s website. Dana Tatman-Lilly Fear Free Veterinarian
(Dr Tatman-Lilly is a Fear Free Veterinarian. Dr Marty Becker banned declawing in his Fear Free practices in 2021 and their Fear Free veterinarians are not allowed to declaw cats. Did Dr Lilly not learn anything about declawing in Dr Becker’s Fear Free classes?)
An employee at Four Seasons Veterinary Services in Brighton, MI said that they only declaw cats if the veterinarian deems it necessary and it costs $1500. The employee said one of the reasons that they might deem it necessary would be if there is someone in the house who is on blood thinners. The employee said they try not do a declaw and try other options first.
They said that Dr Michelle Bradford and Dr McKenna are the ones who do the declaws but you need a consult first.
Here’s a paragraph from a news story in the Detroit Free Press in May 2023. about Dr DanaTatman-Lilly.
“Dr. Dana Tatman-Lilly, an associate veterinarian in Livingston County and president-elect of the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association, confirmed the procedure typically involves some bone removal. But she said the association opposes the bill as infringing on decisions that should be made between a vet, who undergoes years of rigorous training, and a pet owner. “If it starts there, where is it going to end?” Tatman-Lilly asked. “What else are they going to say we can and can’t do?” A better approach, she said, is public education.”
Oh no! Dana Tatman Lilly is bringing up the fear mongering, what else will they take away from us if this inhumane, non-therapeutic and mutilating amputation procedure is banned excuse.
The Michigan Veterinary Medical Association has no information on their website about the facts about declawing or about the easy, humane alternatives. We reached out to the MVMA about this but never heard back from them.
4) Director for Wayne and Oakland Districts Tim Duncan, DVM with Oakland Animal Hospital. This is an AAHA Accredited animal hospital.
Link to this AAHA hospital’s declawing info. https://oaklandanimal.com/services/routine-miscellaneous-procedures/general-surgery/
Employee said that a neuter/declaw is $600-$700.
They said that Dr McInnis is their main doctor for the declaws and she uses a laser.
Researcher asked if she does declaws regularly and the employee said, “Not really, they really don’t recommend it” and said that it’s best to talk to the doctor. The researcher asked if the cats are ok from a declaw and the employee said they can be but also said that the cats can have issues.
5) Director Northeastern – Sara Stein, DVM with West Branch Veterinary Services.
A neuter/declaw is $479.75.
The employee said that Dr Sara Stein is their main doctor for surgeries and does their declaws with a blade, however they haven’t seen one in awhile.
Researcher asked if the cats are ok long term and the employee said they have a new rule now because they have seen some things to where the cat isn’t ok, is that the cat has to be less than 7lbs.
They said that they have found that if the cat is over 7 lbs, it doesn’t really work out in their favor.
They said that they’ve been doing a little bit of research and any cat that is older than a certain age or over 7 lbs, they don’t recommend a declaw.
Here’s our story with all the shelters/rescues in Michigan who SUPPORT banning declawing. https://citythekitty.org/shelters-and-rescues-in-west-michigan-who-are-against-declawing/
Here’s our declawing survey that shows around 95% of vet clinics in Michigan declaw cats and the ones who do not declaw are afraid to speak up about why they made the ethical decision to declaw. Ethical, no-declaw vets are afraid of being bullied for doing the right thing
Here are some of the many examples of declawing vet clinics in Michigan.
6) Kelley’s Animal Clinic in Walker, MI.
Dr James Kelley wrote this note opposing the anti-declawing bill to all the animal shelter directors in Michigan in 2020.
He stated that declawing is not a cruel choice and there are no “ill side effects.”
Here’s a screenshot of the Surgical Information Packet from Dr Kelley’s website, kelleysanimalclinic.com where it says the possible complications from a declaw are bleeding, infection, limping/lameness/regrowth of nail.
Link to surgical form. http://www.kelleysanimalclinic.com/online-forms
Here’s a August 2022 Yelp review about Kelley’s Animal Clinic in Walker, MI about a 4 paw declawed cat.
According to an employee, Dr Kelley and Dr Sara Davis do the declaws with the laser and they said the laser helps with the healing process and less bleeding. A 2 paw declaw/neuter is $450 and it’s $520 for a 4 paw declaw/neuter.
7) Pol Veterinary Services, Weidman, MI.
Here’s a video of Dr Pol telling one of his employees to schedule a neuter/declaw. Dr Pol neuter/declaw video
Update May 2023. An employee at Dr Pol’s Veterinary said that they still perform declawing but aren’t taking new clients.
July 2020. Dr Pol and his 4 other vets are all still declawing cats according to an employee at Pol Veterinary Services. In fact, when you call for the cost of a spay/declaw to Dr Pol’s practice, the employee asks, “Just the front?”
They say that a spay/4 paw declaw is around $300. When asked if declawing is ok for a cat long term, the employee said they never had a problem.
August 2019. Employee said that they aren’t taking new customers for around 6 months. They said that they have 5 vets and they all do the declaws including Dr Pol. A spay/declaw is $210.Another employee said all the vets do declaws. They said that most of the time the other vets do the declaws. Researcher asked why and they said because they are faster than Dr Pol. They use a laser to declaw.
8) Ross Hospital for Animals, an AAHA Accredited Animal Hospital. Bloomfield Hills, MI.
Their website says that their laser declaw is virtually bloodless and painless. An employee at this AAHA hospital said they only take the nail off rather than going down to the knuckle. Link to their bloodless and painless laser declaw info. https://www.rosshospital.com/feline-declaw-laser-surgery/
(Declawing always involves taking off the last bone in a cat’s paw otherwise the nail will grow back.)
Researcher asked for the cost of a declaw and the employee asked, “Would you be doing the front declaw or all four?”
A four paw declaw is $1300 and 2 paw is $1200 plus the cost of meds to go home.
They use a laser and Dr Mazzuchi does their declaws.
Researcher asked if she does declaws regularly and the employee said, “Yep, she’s been here for almost 30 years.” The employee said that Dr Mazzuchi just had a declaw the other day and said, “she does them quite often.”
Researcher asked if the cats are ok after a declaw and they employee said, “Umm, yea” and laughed. They said you can do a little bit more research on declawing and that would be able to tell you more.
Researcher asked how the laser is better for a declaw and the employee said that it’s quicker healing and said, “We only take the nail off rather than going down to the knuckle.”
Researcher asked, “Dr Mazzuchi only takes the nail off and not the knuckle?” and the employee said, “correct.”
Researcher asked the employee how they know that Dr Mazzuchi only takes off the nail and they said that the tech is back there with her is there when she does the surgery.
9) Towne and Country Animal Hospital, Brighton, MI.
Link to their pain-free laser declaw page. https://tcpetvet.net/services
The employee said that they don’t declaw a cat if it is over 4 months old.
They said that Dr Gerster does their declaws with a scalpel and he normally does them on Mondays.
Researcher asked if the cats are ok after the declaw and the employee said yes.
10) Richmond Veterinary Hospital. Columbus, MI
They say in their laser declawing section, “Our Laser Declawing service is part of our dedication to providing the highest standard of veterinary care with the most cutting edge technology. Your pets deserve the best, and that is what we strive to offer.”
Cats deserve to not have their toe bones and claws barbarically burned off and laser declawing is not the highest standard of veterinary care.
Here’s the link to their laser declawing info.
Employee said you have to have an exam to get a quote for a neuter/declaw.
They said that Dr Chris Guisinger does their declaws with a laser. They said that the laser is better because it heals at a cellular level and heals faster.
Researcher asked if he does them regularly and the employee said yes.
Researcher asked if he does around 2 declaws a week and the employee said, “No, he does more than those a week.”
Researcher asked if the cats are ok after the declaw and the employee said yes. They said that the cat stays overnight and they take the bandages off the next morning to check to make sure the cats are ok to go home.
11) Levan Road Veterinary Hospital. This is an AAHA accredited animal hospital.
Here’s their link to their laser declaw info. https://levanroadvet.com/surgery/
Employee said that a 2 paw declaw around $550 is and a 4 paw declaw/neuter is around $600.
They said that they do not do the four paw declaws regularly because not everybody wants the 4 paw declaws and said that the 2 paw declaws are not as common anymore.
Researcher asked why declaws are not as common anymore and the employee said that people don’t believe in it or don’t want to pay the cost.
They said that they have 3 vets who do the declaws with a laser. Researcher asked if the cats are ok long term and they said yes they haven’t heard of anyone complaining.
12) Lake Lansing Road Animal Clinic.
The employee said that a declaw is around $300-$475 and with a laser it’s closer to the $475. They said a laser has a cleaner cut and cauterizes while it cuts which makes for less healing time.
Here’s the page on their website where they have a video from the Cutting Edge laser company with all the lies about laser declawing. The laser declawing propaganda starts at the 1.20 min. mark. https://lansingvetclinic.com/services/laser-surgery.html
The employee said that Dr Maria Lane does their declaws.
Researcher asked if she does them regularly and the employee said yes she does them pretty often and said, “In fact she is doing one today.”
Researcher asked if the cats are ok long term from a declaw and the employee said that the cats usually don’t have any issues.
13) Orion Animal Hospital, Lake Orion.
Researcher asked for the cost of a declaw and the employee asked, “All four or just front?”
2 paw declaw is $375 and for all four it is $425.
They said that Dr Natalie Zalak, the owner vet does their declaws. They said that she does declaws regularly. They said there can be long-term issues like pain and discomfort for them if they are over a certain age or overweight. They said, “we usually recommend declaws when they are pretty small and within 2 months old.”
14) The Cat Practice, Birmingham.
Here’s the link to their declaw handout. One of the things it says is, “When is the best time to declaw?
If you decide that declaw is right for your cat, we recommend that it be done when your cat is young (3-4 pounds) since
this means faster healing, less pain and reduced risk of behavioral issues. When cats are young, their paws contain more
cartilage than bone making the procedure less painful. We recommend AGAINST declaw at the same time as spay or neuter since your cat will have to remain under anesthesia for too long.” http://www.thecatpracticepc.com/documents/Declaw%20Handout.pdf
Researcher asked for the cost of a declaw and the employee asked, “Is it the front or all four?”
A four paw declaw is $1300 and a 2 paw declaw is $1200.
They said that their owner, Dr Cynthia Houliham does their declaws. Researcher asked if she does them regularly and the employee said, “yes.”
Researcher asked if the cats are ok long term and they said every patient is different and there are always risks involved.
15) Cascade Hospital for Animals. Grand Rapids. AAHA Accredited Hospital.
Here’s an AAHA Accredited Animal hospital that stopped being a CAT FRIENDLY PRACTICE so that it could keep declawing cats. (AAFP banned declawing in their Cat Friendly Practices in 2021) https://citythekitty.org/this-aaha-animal-hospital-chose-to-stop-being-a-cat-friendly-practice-so-they-could-keep-declawing-cats/
16) Fremont Animal Hospital.
This is one of the main declawing animal hospitals for a rescue in Newaygo that had their cats declawed by Dr Marie Breuker before they put them up for adoption. (We cannot confirm if they are still declawing them now. ) Fremont Animal Hospital Declaw
Here’s our shocking story about how this declawing vet at Fremont Animal Hospital, Dr Marie Breuker, lied and played the victim to distract from the fact that she is mutilating and harming many innocent cats each year by declawing them. https://citythekitty.org/she-knows-shes-wrong-but-shes-doubling-down/
Here’s a note from a shelter director in Michigan about why declawing should be banned. https://citythekitty.org/note-from-a-shelter-director-in-michigan-that-shows-how-declawing-causes-many-cats-to-lose-their-homes/
Here’s our story about the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association’s leaders and declawing. https://citythekitty.org/fact-11-out-of-14-vets-in-leadership-in-michigans-vet-med-association-make-big-bucks-declawing-do-cats-stand-a-chance/
Here’s our first survey of vet clinics in Michigan. https://citythekitty.org/a-declawing-survey-of-veterinary-practices-in-west-michigan-part-1/