Cali Landlords: Paws off our Pets!

dog on a leashPet owners and animal rights activists are excited about a proposed California bill. Assemblyman Pedro Nava (D- Santa Barbara), a candidate for state attorney general, introduced legislation that would ban landlords from requiring that tenants' cats are declawed or their dogs are de-barked.

Who except the least compassionate among us would protest?
There's no question why some landlords demand these cruel procedures. It comes down to cash. Landlords rationalize that cats with claws will scratch up the finishes around an apartment (which will incur repair costs). Landlords also fear that dogs who bark will increase neighbor complaints and tenant turnover (again, costing them).

Let's not forget that a landlord asking you to declaw or devocalize your pet before moving in will cost you extra, too.

When these animal defense mechanisms are removed they can reduce landlord expenses. But as Nava said, "I had always thought that declawing was barbaric and shouldn't be done. And the more I learned of it, the more apparent it became that this was a procedure being done for the convenience of people without any real thought to the consequences to the animal."

"De-barking" is also said to lead to more aggressive behavior, such as biting. A barking dog in an apartment can signal that the dog isn't getting enough exercise or attention. Or a dog's bark may mean that the owner hasn't trained the dog properly.

But far more sinister, the cries and barks from a dog may signal suffering from physical abuse. Obviously a devocalized dog cannot bark in self defense. (It would be nightmarish if you couldn't scream, right?)

Declawed cats also suffer. Declawed cats and dogs both exhibit behavioral issues due to the removal of innate self-defense mechanisms. More on declawed cat behavior can be found at the Paw Project.

Interestingly, Nava originally sought a de-barking and declawing ban statewide. However, he decided to focus on landlords and the restrictions they place on their pet-owning tenants first. In justifying his position he said, "It was pretty clear that a statewide ban was going to engender a great deal of opposition and would jeopardize any progress in getting people to understand why I didn't favor the practice."

Hats off to Democrat Pedro Nava. California residents, please vote on behalf of cats and dogs and let's pass this legislation.

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