Unsheath the Claws: Here Comes the Paw Project

The declawing of cats has become a fiercely controversial animal-welfare issue, with most of the objection coming from animal lovers and advocates who strongly feel that the process is inhumane and a form of mutilation. A number of countries and cities have banned it altogether; cities in California with declawing laws on the books include West Hollywood, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Berkeley, Culver City and Burbank.

Declawing, or onychectomy, consists of amputating the last bone on each of the cat’s toes, severing bone, tendons, skin and nerves. “It’s like cutting them off right here,” said The Pet Post USA http://www.thepetpost.com/ founder Doug Erickson, pointing to his knuckles. “It’s like saying, ‘Your child is now 4, so we’re going to cut his knuckles off to be sure he won’t get into the medicine cabinet.’”

ONychectomyErickson and pet lifestyle coach Megan Blake are presenting Animal Kindness Weekend (see Pet Projects), which will kick-start with Blake’s Super Smiley Flash Mob at the Seal Beach Animal Care Center’s Wag ’n’ Walk on Saturday the 28th and will have its red carpet event, the Kindness Film Festival, at the Art Theatre on Sunday, the 29. Two short films will show before the main feature: Happily Ever After, a documentary about promoting adoption for senior dogs, and Kindness: A Super-Smiley Dogumentary with Blake and Super Smiley, which teaches about pet care and kindness. There will be a couple of surprise audience-interaction opportunities.

“I’d like to put everyone on a real high and then include some reality,” Erickson said.

The cited reality is The Paw Project, a documentary by Dr. Jennifer Conrad, DVM. Conrad is the founder of The Paw Project organization, whose mission is, as stated on their website, “to educate the public about the painful and crippling effects of feline declawing, to promote animal welfare through the abolition of the practice of declaw surgery, and to rehabilitate cats that have been declawed.” Erickson and Blake had met Conrad at a showing of her film, and the veterinarian was eager to have a Long Beach screening, which was arranged. Conrad, a passionate defender of animal rights, has worked in rehabilitating big cats such as lions, tigers, cougars and jaguars. These animals had been declawed, usually as cubs, for reasons that included being kept as exotic pets, bred as fur sources and used as animal performers. The powerful documentary, which took her 10 years to make, details Conrad rehabbing large cats after they’d been crippled after declawing as well as her grassroots focus on domestic felines and her horror and disgust at the procedure and results of declawing.

“After their knuckles have been taken away, the bones try to grow back—they can’t walk straight, they become crippled, obviously they become very depressed,” Erickson said. “So, [Conrad] took it upon herself to research what goes on inside the cat’s toe.”

Erickson said that he’d never thought twice about declawing a cat but now that he’s seen the movie, there’s no way he’d do it. “This is going to be such an eye-opener,” he said. “There was no question about not bringing it to Long Beach.”

This promises to be one of my long-winded monographs and we’ve got lots of adoptable pets to show you, so I’m dividing it into two parts. The next installment, titled “Cat or Couch?,” will address the issue of “to declaw or not to declaw,” an opinion from the other side and hints to address the cat who wants to shred his or her way through everything from the sectional to the ottoman. Meanwhile, come to the Kindness Festival—please see Pet Projects for full details and links. As noted, the $10 donation will go to The Paw Project.

“Declawing a cat is like cutting off the end of your finger.”
~ Ubiquitous on animal advocacy sites

Virtually Pets

Matched Pairs

This has been a week of matched pairs, and indeed, they are beautiful, but the main reasons to adopt the following felines are that they’re related and strongly bonded and that they also deserve good, forever homes after all they’ve been through.

Asleep on the bed

Last week, I featured two gorgeous orange tabbies who were brought to Fix Long Beach by a terrific woman who scooped them up after some flaming anus threw them and a third sibling (who was not as lucky as his brothers) from a car in traffic. Someone fell madly in love with him when she saw their photos; here’s a picture of how they wound up:

Now the other two sets:

Duke and Duchess

Duke and Duchess

Yes, it’s a glam shot, but it’s fine to go the extra distance if it’ll make a difference. We had these two in last week. They’ve been identified as Turkish Angoras and are mother and son. They were dumped a few weeks ago in a feral colony, where they were not welcomed by the other cats; one of them had been featured on posters all over the beach area with a severe (and deserved) drubbing down about dumping, no microchips, and so on. Duke is deaf and relies on his mom.

Both cats have had grooming, blood work, dental work and inoculations, thanks to donations, and both are social and sweet. “They are like two beautiful graceful swans—so regal that the names Duke and Duchess were well suited,” said their rescuer.

If you’d like to meet royalty, e-mail [email protected]. Duke and Duchess love belly rubs and lots of cuddles, and they deserve a good home.


(from left) Millie and Toby

Yet another mother-and-son pair. Their owner had a massive brain embolism and will not be coming home. These babies are fixed and up-to-date on all shots. They’ve always been indoor kitties and have never seen a dog. They are currently living in their apt and only have until the end of this month. They’re very friendly. To continue what was a good life, e-mail [email protected].

Oh, and by the way—it is illegal to dump animals in the state of California. According to L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Deborah Knaan, whose unitspecializes in animal abuse cases, a person abandoning an animal is violatingSection597 of the state Penal Codeand could receive up to six months in county jail, a fine up to $1,000, or both. There could be additional probationary terms such as no contact with animals for up to five years, counseling, restitution, or a combination thereof. Knaan’s unit prosecutes animal abuse cases in L.A. County.



And here’s a dog. Bouncie’s a neutered male white bichon frise. I’m personally acquainted with the situation that led to his impound. His first owner beat him and otherwise abused him; a friend sneaked him out of the house and gave him to a woman who took beautiful care of him. Sadly, the woman suddenly died of a heart attack in her home, and her mother wouldn’t take the dog and turned him over to our shelter. Would you believe that this face has gone through so much and is still smiling? Bouncie’s a gentle, obedient little fellow who deserves better. Is that you? The spcaLA side of the Animal Companion Village decided to mentor him after ACS readied him; he can be found there, at 7700 Spring St. Ask for ID#14-00300.

Pet Projects

Saturday, Sept. 28, Fix Long Beach Mobile Clinic, Silverado Park, 1545 W. 31st St., Long Beach, 10AM–3:30PM

On Saturday, Sept. 14, Fix Long Beach mobile spay/neuter clinic at Silverado Park, sponsored by C & B Real Estate Investments, Inc., fixed 39—huge number— pets for free—more than 200 after seven clinics. Fix LB’s efforts not only help control shelter overpopulation and provide a healthier, longer life for animals but also serve to educate the public about these things and encourage them to pass it on and forward. Please tell your friends about the next event, also at Silverado Park. Appointments are needed for this clinic and future ones, but none are necessary for low-cost inoculations for species-specific inoculations, flea treatment, worming, nail clipping and, of course, education from Fix Long Beach volunteers (including the veterinarian) and a Long Beach Animal Care Services officer. Please donate here to help fund additional clinics and alleviate the animal overpopulation crisis.

Saturday, Sept. 28, 18th Annual Wag ’n’ Walk, Seal Beach Pier, Main Street, 905 Ocean Ave., Seal Beach, 9AM–2PM

You and your dog can get your exercise and support the wonderful staff and pets at the Seal Beach Animal Care Center. Join the one-mile walk and enjoy a dog costume contest, opportunity drawings (including a $1,000 Visa gift card), dog yoga, a silent auction, and a barbecue sponsored by the Seal Beach Lions Club balanced with vegetarian pizza by zpizza. Justin Rudd serves as grand marshal. Lots more info here, including online registration and sponsorship.

Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Seal Beach Pier, 9AM–2PM, and Sunday, Sept 29, 11AM–2PM at the Art Theater, 2025 E. 4th St., Kindness to Animals Weekend

The Pet Post (no relation to us except through shared love and concern for animals) has designated the last weekend of the month as Kindness to Animals Weekend, obviously in the hope that the sentiment will stretch further than two days. The weekend will kick off during the Wag ’n’ Walk (see above entry) with the Super Smiley Flash Mob led by Megan Blake and her dog, Super Smiley and will culminate in a film festival at the Art Theater. Films shown include Happily Ever After, Kindness: A Super-Smiley Dogumentary, and the sobering but edifying The Paw Project, a documentary about Dr. Jennifer Conrad’s effort to end cat declawing. A $10 donation will be donated to the Paws Project. Click here for the full description and to purchase tickets.

Sunday, Sept. 29, 8th Annual Pet Fair in the Park, Long Beach Marine Stadium, 5255 Paoli Way, Long Beach, 10AM–noon

Enjoy a day of frolicking near the water as you and possibly your dog enjoy opportunity drawings, Agility Dogs demos, pet talent contests, food and pet-product vendors, adoption information and disaster-information booths particularly for your pet. Living as we do in one of the quake capitals of the world, we’re used to hearing “It’s not if it happens, but when.” If you’re a Pet Post reader, you’ll want to include your cat, dog, rabbit, reptile, bird, fish or whatever critter shares your home. All proceeds go to SCART (SoCal Animal Response Team), which presents this event, to help them continue to help us provide for our pets in case of emergency. Click here for more information.

Thursday, Oct. 10, Long Beach Animal Care Services Fund-Raiser, Veggie Grill, The Marketplace in Long Beach, 6451 PCH, Long Beach, 4–10PM

What better way to eat your nice vegetables? Present or mention the flier above, and 50 percent of your food and beverage purchases will go to the Long Beach Animal Care Services.

Saturday, Oct. 19, spcaLA October Mobile Adoption, PetSmart, Long Beach Towne Center, 7631 Carson Blvd., Long Beach, 10AM–3PM

Can’t make it to an spcaLA Pet Adoption Center? We come to you! Meet our adorable adoptables at the Town Center PetSmart!

Volunteers Needed for Third Annual Holiday Bone-Anza Event, presented by Friends of El Dorado Dog Park

The Friends of El Dorado Dog Park, an all-volunteer 501c3 nonprofit, is looking for volunteers to assist with their November 17 event that will take place at Good Neighbor Park, 2800 Studebaker Rd. on Nov. 17, 10AM–4PM.

“With the dog park opening soon, it is going to be more important than ever to create a successful Holiday Bone-Anza fund-raiser,” said Mary Matthieson, FEDDP president. “We are all on the same goal of making our dog park a premier dog park.” Besides setting up and breaking down the event, volunteers will be needed to help with managing booths, helping with activities, flier distribution and a number of other things. FEDDP will send out an e-mail for the scheduling of a volunteer meeting at the first of October. For information, click here or send an e-mail to [email protected]

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Kate Karp is the Pets Columnist for the Long Beach Post covering the world of animal activism, pet adoptions and lots of cute cats. She’s called Long Beach home since 1994 and has written for the Post for about 10 years. Kate’s day job is as a copyeditor, which she discovered a love for during her 30-year tenure as a teacher. She describes the job as “like taking the rough edges off a beautiful sculpture.”