State moves to ban tattoos on animals

If you want to get your dog a tattoo, you might have to move to another state.

A bill that would prohibit tattoos and piercings on dogs, cats and other pets has been approved by both houses of the State Legislature and will be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) sponsored with Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Upper West Side).

“It is a shame that we even need to legislate a ban such as the incredibly cruel acts of piercing and tattooing animals, but these practices have become increasingly more common,” Malliotakis said.

The bill seeks to protect animals from harm, according to Malliotakis. “These painful procedures and the general anesthesia put them at a tremendous health risk. These animals cannot give consent and end up suffering from the pain of recovery and possible infection,” she said.

“Once this bill becomes law, companion animals will no longer be subject to the selfish whims of their owners, who place vanity above the health and safety of their companion animals,” Rosenthal said. “I am pleased that my colleagues recognize the importance of this legislation, and voted unanimously to pass it.”

Rosenthal introduced the bill in July 2011, after hearing about a woman who was selling “gothic kittens” on the internet with piercings on their necks and down the length of their spines.

State Sen. Tom Libous (R-C-Binghamton) is the senate sponsor. 

Malliotakis, an animal rights activist who owns two dogs, advocated for passage of the legislation during Animal Advocacy Day in Albany in May.

Malliotakis, who had been pushing for the bill for more than a year, renewed her efforts in March citing a shocking New York Post story about a Brooklyn tattoo artist nicknamed “Mistah Metro,” who had his dog tattooed with a heart and his wife’s name while the animal was drugged after surgery.

Malliotakis said she began her advocacy on the issue in 2012 after she viewed "Pet Crazy," a documentary about such behavior on ABC’s "20/20."

The legislation gained support from animal rights groups such as Anarchy Animal Rescue of Staten Island, No More Tears Rescue and the New York State Veterinary Medicine Society.