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Don’t declaw.
Don’t crop.
Request a natural tail from your breeder.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is NPAWS ® ?
NPAWS ® is on a mission to cultivate a Pet Positive TM culture across America,
advocating against the normalized cruelty of needless invasive procedures like
declawing, tail docking, and ear cropping. These medically unnecessary procedures
are considered “normal” and do nothing to help the animal. They only cause pain
and suffering. 
Each year, over one million American pets are subjected to unnecessary debilitating
traditions, such as tail docking, ear cropping, declawing, and more. These
procedures are considered illegal mutilation in Europe. NPAWS is carrying this
compassion forward by spreading awareness across America to enhance our
humane treatment of the furry ones that 95% of us call family.
NPAWS is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation based in Austin, Texas. (For more
information, visit
What is Normalized Pet Cruelty?

Normalized cruelties are disabilities intentionally inflicted on pets due to traditions
and general acceptance. They are considered "normal" to the extent that most
people don't even recognize or notice their existence.
The most common forms of normalized pet cruelty are:

  •  Declawing

  • Tail docking

  • Ear cropping

What is Declawing?

Declawing is amputation of the last bone of each of a cat’s toes or removal of a
dog’s dewclaw. If performed on a human being, feline declawing would be like
cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.
Many people think that there are rational purposes behind these procedures and
that they support the health of either pets or their people. This is just not true.
Declawing cuts through bone, tendons, muscles and skin. It leaves the cat crippled
for life and may cause behavior problems due to fear or ongoing pain. The
mistaken beliefs promoted to make declawing acceptable is that disabling the cat
will protect humans from cat scratches. The reality is that NO human health
authority recommends declawing to protect human health.
Another falsehood is that declawing protects cats from being given to a shelter. The
truth is that declawing can lead to unwanted behavior, which can lead to
relinquishment to a shelter. 80% of cats given to shelters because of behavior
problems are destroyed.
Yet, more than 1 million cats are estimated to be declawed in the US each year. This
is a lucrative business for veterinarians and pharmaceutical companies.
What is Docking?
Tail docking is the intentional removal of part or all of an animal’s tail or, sometimes
Why? In 18th century England, there was a tax on all dogs – except for docked-tail
working dogs. So, dogs were routinely docked to avoid taxes. The practice was later
adopted as part of kennel club “breed standards” Even though docking and
cropping are now considered illegal cruelty in England, they continue to be
promoted by American kennel clubs claiming that the mutilation maintains the
“integrity” of the breed. Docking permanently removes an extension of the dogs’
spinal cords affecting their balance, ability to tell other dogs that they are friendly
(and avoid fights) and can even affect their ability to go to eliminate waste.
What is Cropping?

Ear cropping is the removal of part or all of the external flaps of a dog‘s ear. The
procedure sometimes involves bracing and taping the remainder of the ears to
train them to point upright.
Many believe that cropping prevents ear infection. Not so. The opposite is true. It
can cause ear infection by removing the protection of the ear flap. It also exposes
the dog’s ear canal allowing for easier invasion by foreign objects, including insects
and debris. This practice is always done for appearance, often to make the dog
appear more aggressive. 
Are these things legal everywhere?
The three cruelties detailed above are illegal in England, across Europe, and in
many other countries. NPAWS is working to change American perception so that
voters will be eager to make it illegal in the U.S. too.

What is NPAWS’ story?

NPAWS was founded by Olivia Wakeman in 2019. She walked her much-loved dog,
Milton, daily. A pair of boxers attacked Milton whenever they crossed paths. Polite
and friendly, Milton avoided conflicts with other dogs. Olivia began to research. She
learned that dogs with docked tails could not signal their emotions as clearly as
other dogs. Chatting with dock-tailed dog owners on the paths revealed that there
were lots of reasons owners believed their dogs tails had been docked by the
breeder, most commonly “to prevent injury.” That made no sense. Amputating an
extension of their spinal cord IS an injury.
Digging deeper, she learned that the real reason this antiquated tradition continues
is due to the Breed Standards promoted by American kennel clubs. The American
club states that the practice “maintains the integrity of the breed.” A totally baffling
From there, it was a small jump to see the equally unnecessary cruelties of ear
cropping and declawing and ask, “Why is it OK to do something to a pet that we
wouldn’t do to a child? Especially when more than 90% of pet owners consider their
pet part of the family.”

Eyes opened to the insanity that we American’s accept as “normal,” Olivia contacted
cruelty prevention organizations to find an organization addressing these cruelties.
There were none. NPAWS was born and works tirelessly to expand national
enlightenment about the unnecessary cruelty of these procedures.
NPAWS is based in Austin, TX. Please visit us at

Be Pet Positive   !
Don’t declaw. Don’t crop. Request a natural tail from your breeder.


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