Tattooing a tabby will no longer be legal in New York after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Monday prohibiting animal tattoos and piercings Monday. The bill was inspired by reports of a woman who pierced cats and then sold them as “Gothic kittens” on the Internet.
“This is animal abuse, pure and simple,” Cuomo said, according to the New York Daily News. “I’m proud to sign this common-sense legislation and outlaw these cruel and unacceptable practices once and for all in New York.”
New York State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat who represents Manhattan, sponsored the bill, which passed the state Legislature in July. “It’s simply cruel,” she told the Associated Press of people who tattoo and pierce their animals.
Ear tags for rabbits and guinea pigs used for identification are excluded from the law, which takes effect in 120 days, according to the AP. Also excluded are markings done by a veterinarian for medical or identification purposes.
Rosenthal said she believed Pennsylvania was the only other state to outlaw pet piercings and tattoos. Her bill gained momentum after Brooklyn tattoo artist Mistah Metro posted a photo to Instagram of his dog with a tattoo of a heart with an arrow going through it, according to the Daily News. Metro later deleted the posting.
“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,” he wrote alongside the dog tattoo picture.
Rosenthal said the dog tattoo showed 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 is a violation of animal cruelty laws, Teresa Chagrin, an animal care and control specialist for PETA, told the AP. Those who violate the New York law face punishments ranging from 15 days in jail to a $250 fine.