TRENTON — Legislation to prohibit cat declawing in New Jersey has been approved by the Assembly.

The measure sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman Troy Singleton was passed Monday by a 43-10 vote, with 12 abstentions. It now heads to the state Senate's Economic Growth committee, which hasn't yet scheduled a hearing.

New Jersey could be the first state to ban declawing if the bill eventually becomes law.

It would ban declawing and another procedure in which an animal keeps its claws but the tendons to its toes are severed. It would allow declawing for medical reasons.

Violators would be guilty of a disorderly persons' offense, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a jail term of up to six months. They also could face a civil penalty of up to $2,000.

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