NEW YORK

State becomes first to ban declawing of cats

New York became the first U.S. state to ban the declawing of cats Monday, joining most of Europe, several Canadian provinces and a growing list of American cities that already prohibit a procedure animal advocates call cruel and unnecessary.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) signed the New York ban, which took effect immediately.

Declawing a cat involves amputating a cat’s toes at the first joint. The operation was once commonly performed to protect furniture and human skin from feline scratching but has in recent years come under scrutiny by animal welfare advocates, cat owners and many vets.

While many vets urged lawmakers to pass the ban, the state’s largest veterinary organization opposed the bill.

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The New York State Veterinary Medical Society argued that declawing should be allowed as a last resort for felines that won’t stop scratching furniture or humans — or when the cat’s owner has a weakened immune system, putting them at greater risk of infection from a scratch.

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Declawing a cat is already illegal in much of Europe and Canada, as well as in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver, but no other U.S. state has voted to ban the procedure.

According to the Paw Project, a California-based group that supports bans on declawing, bills to prohibit the procedure are pending in several states, including New Jersey, California and Massachusetts, where lawmakers held a hearing on the measure Monday.

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— Associated Press

ILLINOIS

Briton pleads guilty in killing of hair stylist

A British man accused in the fatal stabbing of a hair stylist in Chicago agreed Monday to plead guilty and testify against his co-defendant in the killing, a former Northwestern University professor, in exchange for a 45-year prison sentence.

Andrew Warren’s written plea agreement comes almost two years after 26-year-old Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau’s body was discovered July 27, 2017, riddled with stab wounds in an apartment in River North. Prosecutors later said he had been stabbed 70 times and with such brutality that he was nearly decapitated. His throat was slit and pulmonary artery torn.

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The discovery prompted a nationwide manhunt for Warren and Wyndham Lathem, who lived in the apartment and was eventually identified as Cornell-Duranleau’s boyfriend.

Lathem, once a respected associate professor of microbiology-immunology at Northwestern, and Warren, who at that point worked at Oxford University, surrendered to authorities in California just days later.

Prosecutors spelled out how Warren and Lathem met in an online chat room where they hatched a plot to kill Cornell-Duranleau and then themselves. Natosha Toller, an assistant Cook County state’s attorney, described the plan as a sexual fantasy. But after they killed Lathem’s lover, they lost their nerve and fled Chicago on a strange road trip to California that included a stop at a public library in which they made large donations in Cornell-Duranleau’s name.

— Associated Press

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