A House committee is weighing a bill that would prevent cities and counties from banning the practice of declawing cats and other pets. SB 115 is sponsored by State Senator Justin Brown, R-Rolla, whose father, the late State Senator Dan Brown, R-Rolla, was a practicing veterinarian in addition to being a lawmaker.

The bill passed the Missouri Senate on March 30th, and underwent its first House hearing on Wednesday. Doctor Matt Silvius is a small animal veterinarian who practices in the Kansas City area and currently serves as president of the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association. He testified in favor of the bill and said the issue goes beyond declawing.

“I think it’s important that we protect veterinary medicine from local municipality oversight,” Silvius said. “I think when we allow a patchwork of regulations throughout the state, it does not benefit the public or animals within our state.”

The bill in particular would target both St. Louis and St. Louis County, which have both banned declawing. Shawn Brennan, a graduate student working as an intern at the Missouri Capitol, testified that both local governments had every legal right to ban cat declawing.

“Every local voice will be stomped on and repressed,” he said. “If this bill passes no local entity or individual will be allowed to decide for themselves what policies or legislation are best regarding the veterinary medical practices in their districts.”

The bill next faces a committee vote before moving to the full Missouri House. If the House passes it as-is it would go to the governor’s desk. Any changes, and it would have to go back to the Senate.

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