Animal rights groups are weighing in after a Brooklyn tattoo artist, only known as Mistah Metro, sparked outrage on social media and in the news when he tattooed his pit bull mix, reports Gothamist. The tattoo artist, who works at the Red Legged Devil in Prospect Heights, bragged on Instagram that his dog had to have her spleen removed and the vet let him ink his dog while she was sedated.
After the firestorm, Mistah Metro took down his first Instagram account and opened a second, reposting the photo then taking it down again. Now, that second account just has one photo of a quote: "They tell you to be yourself then they judge you."
Metro's boss, Chris Torres, made it clear he had nothing to do with the dog tattoo, but also defended Metro to some extent, tweeting, "you guys are aware that the ASPCA tattoos dogs & cats once they've speyed [sic] or neutered them, right?"
Metro may think his "dog is cooler than yours," as he wrote on Instagram, but animal interest groups in New York aren't laughing.
Aimee Christian, vice president of spay/neuter operations at the ASPCA, released a statement, saying:
"The tattooing of an animal for the selfish joy and entertainment of its owner – without any regard for the well-being of the animal – is not something the ASPCA supports. The incident in question is not at all comparable to the practice of leaving a small mark on an animal for identification purposes following spay or neuter surgery. This tagging procedure, performed by a licensed veterinarian or veterinary technician while the animal is under anesthesia, helps animal welfare professionals clearly identify animals that have been altered, preventing unnecessary future surgeries."
Martin Mesereau, director of PETA’s Emergency Response Team, said his group is fundamentally against such procedures for pets.
"PETA is opposed to cosmetic procedures on animals," he said. "Even though the dog was supposedly anesthetized while receiving the tattoo, this procedure was still unnecessary and painful, and it could lead to complications that endanger his or her health. Our dogs and cats love us, regardless of how we look. We should extend the same kindness to them."
Sandra DeFeo, director of public relations at the Humane Society of New York, echoed these sentiments.
"What some hospitals do when animals are spayed or neutered is that they do a tattoo to identify if an animal is spayed or neutered, but it's just a little green line," she said. "It’s not an elaborate design. Some people might argue that you can cut your dog's hair, so why not tattoo it? I think it's more than that. If anyone's ever had a tattoo, it can hurt, so it's not necessary to the health and well-being of your animal."
DeFeo added that the Humane Society does not condone such behavior, but said she couldn't go as far as to call it cruel without understanding the circumstances.
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