A photo shared on the internet last week by a tattoo parlor artist has caused a renewal in the push for a bill to ban animal tattooing and piercing in New York State.
The Brooklyn man, who goes by the moniker "Mistah Metro", posted a picture of the dog he had tattooed while the animal was under anesthesia following surgery. The caption bragged "One of the many reasons my dog is cooler than your[s]! She had her spleen removed today and the vet let me tattoo her while she was under."
Calling it an act of animal cruelty, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore/Brooklyn) told the Staten Island Advance yesterday that she will champion a law making such an act a misdemeanor, with jail time and a $1000 fine. The bill was first introduced in 2012, but failed to win enough support. However, the legislator feels the time is now appropriate to try again and believes it will pass.
Ms. Malliotakis was inspired after watching a 20/20 documentary called "Pet Crazy," which showcased people with pets they've tattooed or pierced as some sort of fashion statement.
"Seeing this practice become more and more common is incredibly disturbing," said Ms. Malliotakis. "Animals should not undergo cosmetic surgeries, tattoos and piercing, not only because it is cruel but general anesthesia puts them at a tremendous health risk." She added, "These animals cannot give consent and end up suffering from the pain of recovery and possible infection, or post-surgery complications."
Ms. Malliotakis now has the support of another lawmaker, state Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island). "I don't think the bill got the proper respect the first time," said Ms. Savino, adding, "People have begun to treat their pets as accessories. This is about animal cruelty; you are inflicting pain on an animal."
Several local animal rights groups are in support of the Malliotakis bill, as well as the NYS Veterinary Medicine Society. The ASPCA posted the following statement today on the website "gothamist":
The ASPCA condones the use of tattooing for only identification purposes following spay or neuter surgery. This practice helps animal welfare professionals clearly identify animals that have been altered, thereby preventing unnecessary future surgeries. This painless procedure is performed by a licensed veterinarian or veterinary technician while the animal is under anesthesia. The marks are very small and have a specific purpose, which is to avoid inflicting undue pain and stress later if that animal is unknowingly brought in for a spay surgery a second time.
Tattooing an animal for the vain sake of joy and entertainment of the owner - without any regard for the well-being of the animal - is not at all comparable to the incident in question and is not something the ASPCA supports.
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