New York Makes It Illegal To Tattoo Or Pierce Pets

If you live in New York, your pet’s body is no longer allowed to be your canvas under the steely eyes of the law. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that goes into effect in 120 days, making it illegal to pierce or tattoos animals for cosmetic purposes. Yes, that includes tattooing Mr. Grobblesworth Wrinklefoot with your name in a heart pierced by a rose’s thorns.

“This is animal abuse, pure and simple,” Cuomo said, according to Reuters. “I’m proud to sign this common-sense legislation and end these cruel and unacceptable practices in New York once and for all.”

Pennsylvania enacted similar legislation to clarify the rules on tattoos and piercings soon after the 2011 case of a Pennsylvania woman who body-pierced kittens to make them more “goth.” Assembly member Linda Rosenthal sponsored New York’s legislation around that time, her chief of staff says.

“It’s simply cruel,” said Rosenthal, according to the Associated Press, noting that people have the choice to undergo the pain of a tattoo or piercing, while pets don’t have that option.

Exceptions to the rules include markings that are done under a veterinarian’s watch for medical reasons (like marking that a cat has been spayed by using a little green dot) or for identification. If it’s for ID purposes, the inkings can only include numbers and letters used for a tattoo identification registry.

People who break the law will face up to 15 days in jail and fines as high as $250.

Does this mean it’s legal in all other states to pierce your cat or tattoo your dog? Probably not — an animal care and control specialist for PETA told the AP that piercing and tattooing violates existing animal cruelty laws in all 50 states.

New York state bans pet tattooing, piercing [Reuters]
New York Bans Cosmetic Pet Tattoos, Piercings [Associated Press]

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