California Code, Penal Code - PEN § 597.6

(a)(1) No person may perform, or otherwise procure or arrange for the performance of, surgical claw removal, declawing, onychectomy, or tendonectomy on any cat that is a member of an exotic or native wild cat species, and shall not otherwise alter such a cat's toes, claws, or paws to prevent the normal function of the cat's toes, claws, or paws.

(2) This subdivision does not apply to a procedure performed solely for a therapeutic purpose.

(b) Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year, by a fine of ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

(c) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Declawing” and “onychectomy” mean any surgical procedure in which a portion of the animal's paw is amputated in order to remove the animal's claws.

(2) “Tendonectomy” means a procedure in which the tendons to an animal's limbs, paws, or toes are cut or modified so that the claws cannot be extended.

(3) “Exotic or native wild cat species” include all members of the taxonomic family Felidae, except domestic cats (Felis catus or Felis domesticus) or hybrids of wild and domestic cats that are greater than three generations removed from an exotic or native cat.  “Exotic or native wild cat species” include, but are not limited to, lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, lynxes, bobcats, caracals, ocelots, margays, servals, cheetahs, snow leopards, clouded leopards, jungle cats, leopard cats, and jaguars, or any hybrid thereof.

(4) “Therapeutic purpose” means for the purpose of addressing an existing or recurring infection, disease, injury, or abnormal condition in the claw that jeopardizes the cat's health, where addressing the infection, disease, injury, or abnormal condition is a medical necessity.


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