“This is animal abuse, pure and simple,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said, as he signed a bill on Monday that prohibits animal tattoos and piercings statewide, the New York Daily News reports.
“I’m proud to sign this common-sense legislation and outlaw these cruel and unacceptable practices once and for all in New York,” the Governor added.
The bill, introduced by State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, passed the state Legislature in July and will go into effect in 120 days. Rosenthal said she believed Pennsylvania was the only other state to outlaw pet piercings and tattoos. “It’s simply cruel,” she told the Associated Press.
Ear tags for rabbits and guinea pigs used for identification are exempted from the law. Also excluded are tattoos done by veterinarians for medical or identification purposes.
The bill gained momentum after Brooklyn tattoo artist posted a photo on Instagram of his pit bull with an apparently just-completed tattoo of a heart pierced by an arrow, according to the International Business Times.
A message written beside the tattoo stated, “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.”
Rosenthal said the dog tattoo demonstrated that animals need to be protected from cruel owners. “Humans should not apply their own fashion sense in permanent harm and injury to their animals,” she said.
Dog and cat tattoos and piercings cause pain to animals and are a violation of animal cruelty laws, Teresa Chagrin, an animal-cruelty specialist for PETA, told the AP.
"Animals can't speak out against undergoing a painful procedure like piercing or tattooing," said Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, who sponsored the bill. "I'm glad we're standing up for them and banning this heartless practice."
Those who violate the New York law face punishments ranging from 15 days in jail to a $250 fine.