Posted on December 21, 2014
Pet Piercing and Tattooing Banned in New York
A 2011 story about a woman selling kittens with body piercings (referred to in the ad as “gothic kittens”), got animal advocate Linda Rosenthal all stirred up. So stirred up, in fact that this New York Assemblywoman authored and introduced a bill outlawing the tattooing or piercing of pets.
Interest in Ms. Rosenthal’s bill accelerated earlier in 2014 in response to an Instagram posting. The photo, by Brooklyn tattoo artist Mistah Metro, featured his own dog bearing a large, fresh, over-the-shoulder tattoo. The Instagram caption stated, “One of the many reasons my dog is cooler than yours! She had her spleen removed today and the vet let me tattoo her while she was under.”
Thanks to Linda Rosenthal’s efforts (and Mr. Metro’s desire to strut his stuff), this story has a happy ending. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has just signed legislation that bans tattooing or piercing of pets in his state. Cuomo stated, “This is animal abuse, pure and simple. I’m proud to sign this common-sense legislation and outlaw these cruel and unacceptable practices once and for all in New York.”
Animal advocacy track record
Linda Rosenthal’s anti-tattoo/anti-piercing legislation is not her first foray into the animal advocacy arena. This seasoned legislator has been called a “one-woman animal rights league”. She’s authored multiple animal protection bills that:
- Provide cities the authority to enact laws against puppy mills.
- Provide for the humane removal of downed animals.
- Relate to the sale of birds by pet dealers when such birds have not yet been fully weaned.
- Allocate funding for the New York City animal population control fund.
- Relate to acts of animal cruelty in the presence of a child.
- Recodify animal cruelty laws from the agriculture and markets law to the penal law.
- Create a task force to study how to improve investigations of animal abuse and enforcement of anti-animal abuse laws.
- Include wildlife animals as those subject to the animal cruelty laws.
And, the list goes on and on! If I didn’t love where I live so much, I might just move to New York, thanks to Linda Rosenthal!
This veterinarian’s perspective
I was delighted to learn that tattooing and piercing of pets in New York have been banned. I have zero tolerance for performing procedures on pets that serve no purpose other than “cosmetic enhancement.” The animal derives no benefit from the forced change in appearance, but is certainly subject to complications such as pain, infection, and scarring that can be associated with such procedures.
By the way, tattooing animals is medically warranted in some cases for tracking ownership or making neutering status known. Such tattoos are exempt from New York’s recently signed legislation. To my knowledge, purposeful piercing is never medically warranted in the world of small animal medicine.
In summary, I say, way to go New York! Let’s hope your new legislation will be contagious around the country.
What’s your opinion on animal tattoos and piercings?
Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
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Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.