The state Senate Economic Growth Committee passed legislation that would make it illegal for cat owners to have their pets declawed.

The bill would prevent owners from declawing their cats unless a licensed veterinarian says the procedure would help "an existing or recurring illness, infection, disease, injury, or abnormal condition in a claw that compromises the animal’s health." Declawing for cosmetic, aesthetic or convenience reasons would not be allowed.

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Violating the proposed law would make someone guilty of a disorderly person’s offense, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, a prison term of up to six months, or both, as well as being subject to a civil penalty of between $500 and $2,000.

After passing through the Senate Economic Growth Committee, the bill will be presented to the Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee.

The question I haven't seen answered, though, is who goes to jail. If I bring my cat to the vet and ask to have it declawed, am I guilty just for asking the question? Or does the vet actually have to go through with it, in which case wouldn't the vet be guilty and be the one who goes to jail or pays the fine? I'm not saying I would attempt to declaw my cat, because I've read enough things about how it is the equivalent of cutting off your finger at the first knuckle, I'm just curious of how the punishment would be enforced.

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