Carmenza Piedrahita was sentenced to 30 days in jail when her cat Toby died of complications from a botched "do-it-yourself" declawing. Prosecutors charged Piedrahita with felony animal cruelty after allowing Geronimo Gonzalez, 72, and Jose Diaz, 56, to perform the unlicensed procedure. Piedrahita claims that she believed Gonzalez was licensed, but police believe Piedrahita knew full well that the free procedure was not legitimate.
For nearly two weeks, Toby lingered in pain, suffering from dehydration and vomiting a green substance. Toby was finally brought to the Animal Welfare Society of South Florida where vets treated Toby noting that he was "in severe pain due to exposed bones in both front legs." Vets took photos of the gruesome wounds. Toby eventually succumbed to his injuries. Piedrahita's lawyer stated that Piedrahita "feels terrible she didn't care for this cat properly after the surgery." Gonzalez' and Diaz' cases are still pending.
Declawing, or onychectomy, is legal in Florida when performed by a licensed veterinarian. However, some veterinarians and animal-rights groups strongly discourage the practice. Many counties have enacted laws prohibiting declawing unless medically necessary.
For more information, see:
David Ovalle, Miami Herald, "Do-it-yourself declawing that killed kitten may land Miami woman in jail" April 21, 2016, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article73093632.html