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After passionate pleas from animal rights advocates, Easton set to vote on banning cat de-clawing

Julian Abraham
Sheryl Petrillo, president of the Animal Defenders of the Greater Lehigh Valley, asks Easton City Council to ban puppy mills.

EASTON, Pa. — Easton City Council is set to vote on the declawing of pet cats in the city, as well as retail sales of dogs, cats and rabbits.

Council accepted a proposed ordinance at its meeting Wednesday. A vote now is scheduled April 5.

The proposal came after representatives from the Lehigh Valley Humane Society pleaded with council at its meeting Wednesday.

  • Easton City Council could ban cat de-clawing and retail pet sales.
  • Two animal rights groups showed up at city council's meeting Wednesday to plead for the action
  • Allentown has already banned the practice

Allentown in November approved a similar declawing ban — at the time just the second municipality in Pennsylvania to do so. Violating the ban in Allentown carries a $500 fine.
Also at Wednesday night's Easton meeting, Animal Defenders of the Lehigh Valley asked for puppy mills to be hindered, through banning retail sales of pets.

Easton City Hall
Julian Abraham
Easton City Hall, as pictured on Wednesday, March 22, 2023.

Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said he supported both propositions, but said he knew of no puppy mills nor veterinarians in Easton.

Panto said both of his dogs are rescues, and he empathized with the causes.

In response, both advocacy groups said council could ban declawing and mills as a preventative measure.

Sheryl Petrillo, president of Animal Defenders of the Greater Lehigh Valley, said just because there isn't a known "puppy mill" in Easton doesn't stop pet stores and sellers in the region from supplying their animals from them.

She said she believes some in the Easton area do.

"The most common way that [cat de-clawing] done is with a laser, a scalpel or a guillotine tool."
Stephanie Gallagher, volunteer with the Humane Society of Lehigh Valley

Volunteer Stephanie Gallagher from the Humane Society of Lehigh Valley said cat declawing is essentially like cutting off a human finger at the knuckle.

"The most common way that this is done is with a laser, a scalpel or a guillotine tool," Gallagher said from the podium in City Hall.

Regarding puppy mills, the advocates said they plan to show up at Bethlehem and other city council meetings.

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated the status of the proposed ban on declawing.

Corrected: March 23, 2023 at 12:32 PM EDT
A previous version of this story indicated that Easton has already banned cat de-clawing. In fact, the ordinance is set to be voted on at the April 5 Council meeting. We regret the error.