New York state passes bill to ban animal tattooing, piercing

The dog was tattooed while it was in for surgery. Credit: Instagram.
The dog was tattooed while it was in for surgery. Credit: Instagram.

A bill that bans animal tattooing and piercing of pets was unanimously passed by the New York Senate and Assembly and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Cuomo.

Assembly member Linda Rosenthal introduced the bill in 2011 after she heard about a woman selling “gothic kittens” with piercings on the Internet and people who tattooed their pets to match their looks. “It’s reprehensible,” said Rosenthal. “These animals trust you to take care of them and people take advantage of that. An animal can’t speak and say, ‘You know, this hurts.’”

Rosenthal’s bill had languished for three years but was brought to the fore earlier this year when a Brooklyn tattoo artist posted a controversial photo on Instagram of a tattoo he gave his pet pitbull. The dog was sedated for spleen surgery and the owner, known only as Mistah Metro, took the opportunity to brand the dog.

Animal rights groups were livid and now they are more than glad that the State has addressed the issue.

“Tattooing your dog is not a necessary medical procedure,” said Sandra DeFeo, executive director of the Humane Society of New York. “It’s superfluous. And whenever you sedate an animal, it’s a risk. You should only do it for the right reasons.”

Tattooing and piercing of animals already violates general anti-cruelty statutes but this bill will likely address any grey areas. “It clarifies the law and helps law enforcement officials stand on firmer ground, said Teresa Chagrin, PETA representative.

Once signed into law, the bill will make it illegal to tattoo or piercing companion animals unless the procedure is performed by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian for identification or medical purposes only.

Phone calls made to Mistah Metro went unanswered.


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