Black Tie & Tails Celebrates Humane Legislator of the Year

By Tara Czekaj, Animal Friends Humane Legislation Committee Member 

The 25th annual Black Tie & Tails gala in September introduced an inaugural award, Humane Legislator of the Year, presented to City of Pittsburgh Councilman Bobby Wilson for his work in accomplishing the non-therapeutic
cat declawing ban in the city. This year’s event coincided with the one year anniversary of the unanimous passage of this legislation to protect cats from being declawed in the City of Pittsburgh.

There are many alternatives to cat declawing including nail caps, regularly trimming nails and providing ample scratching posts for cats. The Animal Friends Humane Legislation Committee received multiple letters from
local veterinarians in support of the declaw prohibition, all of whom recommended declawing alternatives.

The successful passage of the declaw ban made the City of Pittsburgh the first government in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to ban non-therapeutic declawing of cats. In 2021, Pittsburgh joined other major American cities including Austin, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Culver City, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica, St. Louis, West Hollywood and the states of New York and Maryland in prohibiting non-therapeutic
declawing of cats.

“The City of Pittsburgh should set an example as a humane city, both in southwest Pennsylvania and across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Councilman Wilson. “How we treat animals speaks to our deepest values.” Councilman Wilson and his Chief of Staff, Mohammed Burny, are currently partnering with the Animal Friends Legislation Committee and the Humane Society of the United States on other animal protection measures to fill animal welfare gaps in the City of Pittsburgh.

“We are grateful for the partnership of Councilman Wilson and his staff. Without the support of our local legislators, we cannot implement recommended solutions from our Humane Officers or the City’s Animal Care & Control units,” states Kathleen Beaver, President & CEO of Animal Friends. “The animals and the humans we support both benefit when gaps in animal welfare are addressed through public policy.”

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