Seattle is a pretty ink heavy city; folks without tattoos are in the minority around here. But what about our pets? Would you ink your best buddy? The subject has resurfaced recently so let’s take a look…
The tattooing we’re talking about is the same kind as humans undergo- injecting ink under the skin permanently. A different kind of “tattooing” for dogs is being performed by groomers with an airbrush to create temporary designs on the hair coat or skin.
Another type of tattooing that was popular in the past was a permanent way of identifying a dog; likely with a set of numbers/letters. These are inked with a tattoo gun on the inner ear or sometimes belly, most commonly done now by breeders. But with the advent of implanted microchips, this practice has fallen to the wayside as a way of identifying pets.
What we’re talking about here is not about identification but an owner’s desire to make their canine companion more unique. Nearly naked dogs like the Chinese Crested make good candidates to show off a tat. Usually the dogs getting inked are under full anesthesia. If your dog needed a routine procedure like a dental scaling would you elect to add a little color while they were under?
No matter what, body modification for vanity purposes should be reserved for beings making the conscious decision to do so. A dog can’t make the choice to be tattooed or pierced; it’s the owners’ choice. This issue has many people up in arms, including advocacy groups calling it barbaric and abusive. Ask any person with ink- it hurt. To what degree often depends on the spot but either way, if the dog is sedated or under anesthesia makes it no more right.
New York has passed a bill through the state Legislature that would prohibit “unnecessary body modification” of animals but has an exemption for piercings and tattoos for the purpose of medical identification.
It was first introduced in 2011 by assembly woman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) after hearing about a woman selling “gothic kittens” on the internet with piercings on their necks and spines. It’s being endorsed by the Humane Society of New York and gained bipartisan support.
According to the language of the bill (S.6769), body piercing of a pet would only be allowed for medical purposes; while animal tattoos would only be permitted if it is determined a permanent mark on the skin is needed for a medical benefit or would be used strictly for identification purposes. Violations would carry fines of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
So with Seattle being as tattoo friendly as it is, how long before we see folks tattooing their pooches for fun here? Would you be willing to support anti-body modification legislation for animals? Or would Seattle residents embrace it?