Riley Snyder, the Independent Nevada
MP Susie Martinez (D-Las Vegas) is actually not a cat person. Her daughter is allergic – something she found out while visiting her sister, a cat owner, and her daughter’s eyes are so puffy that she “looked like Rocky (Balboa)”.
Even so, Martinez is poised to become the feline flag bearer of the 2021 session with her launch of AB209. This bill would generally prohibit the stealing of cats, except for medically necessary reasons.
In an interview, Martinez said stealing is an inhuman and cruel practice – amputating the last bone on each toe of a cat, which for humans would be equivalent to cutting off a finger to the first knuckle.
“It’s such an archaic process what he does to them mentally and then how they can have harm in their little paws, you know, they’re going to be in pain for the rest of their lives,” she said.
Nevada wouldn’t be the first state to prohibit theft. New York passed a similar ban on scratching cats in 2019 after several cities in the United States and nearly four dozen other countries banned purring. Proponents of bans-on-bans estimate that up to a quarter or more of cats in the U.S. have gone through the procedure.
The bill generally prohibits stealing cats unless it’s necessary for medical purposes, with an escalating penalty for violations of $ 1,000 or more – quite a scratch.
The other section prohibits veterinarians from illegally scratching a cat, imposing a civil penalty, and taking various actions the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners may take against violations.
Proponents of the bill could hiss a tax bill tabled by the Veterinary Committee that estimates the upfront cost at $ 9,000 and future budget cycle costs at around $ 16,000 to set up a new tracking system, as well as ongoing training and investigation costs.
Martinez said her niece currently lives in her Las Vegas home while she lives in Carson City and has brought her three cats – Chico, Maple (or ‘Meeps’), and Maisie. She said the three cats get on well with the original tenants; her three dogs.
“They were fine in my house,” she said. “I have all kinds of brand new furniture. You did well. You know you just cut her nails. You teach them to be a little civilized. And they’ll be fine. “
– This story was used with permission from The Nevada Independent. Here you can find updates on this and other stories.