Pet Tattoos Banned In New York: Is It Really Cruelty To Animals?

Pet tattoos have officially been banned by the New York State Legislature in a rare move of bipartisanship. All the law now needs is the signature of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and as NPR notes, that’s expected to happen.

That means if you had any plans to slap a “I <3 Mom” pet tattoo on your dog or cat, you could be in danger of fines – or worse.

The bill was introduced in 2011 by Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and endorsed by the Humane Society of New York. Rosenthal had noticed a disturbing trend of what she called “gothic kittens” that were being sold on the Internet.

The kittens not only had tats, but some were also pierced. (And some had both.) Rosenthal was appalled, and made sure that her legislation covered both acts.

Therefore the pet tattoo ban nixes any type of “unnecessary body modification,” with one exception. If the modifications are made for the purpose of medical identification, then they’re granted an exemption.

“To subject the animals to unnecessary painful procedures to satisfy the owners’ fancy is… reprehensible,” Rosenthal said. Following the overwhelming vote of support this week — the bill passed unanimously — Rosenthal added: “Companion animals… will no longer be subject to the selfish whims of their owners.”

One of the images that most appalled the Assemblywoman was the one you see above, taken from the Instagram account of “Mistah Metro.”

The pooch’s name is Zion, and he was “unconscious from spleen surgery” when he was inked.

Metro captioned the original post: “My dog is cooler than yours.”

PETA called the decision to ban pet tattoos “a wonderful thing,” but noted that it “should be common sense.”


According to Daphna Nachminovitch, senior vice-president of cruelty investigation for the organization, this is the only ban she has heard of to legally ban the tattooing and piercing of companion animals, WQAD reports.

While PETA is not usually an organization I identify with — they often value animal lives more than people lives — I’ve got to agree with the “common sense” statement. There are definitely kinder ways to identify your pet.

Yesterday, our own Patrick Frye weighed in on the subject, stating, “In the end, I would say that giving your pet a temporary tattoo is probably the better option and is completely harmless. There are also products that are certified to be pet safe where you can essentially draw artwork onto your pet’s fur and it’ll eventually go away.”

Do you think the decision to ban pet tattoos is a good one, or government overreach?

[Image via]