Pet tattoo ban to still allow identifying tattoos done by vets

ALBANY, N.Y. – Tattooing and piercing your pets will soon be illegal in New York State after a bill was signed into law by the governor this week.

The new law comes after a Brooklyn tattoo artist had his pit-bull tattooed with a heart and his name back in March. A trend called “gothic kitties” also had owners piercing the ears and backs of their cats. Cuomo is calling the practice animal abuse, and although he hopes to put an end to it with the new law, some types of tattooing will still be allowed.

Several tattoo shops and veterinary clinics in the Capital Region say that the practice of putting an identifying tattoo on a pet has not been unheard of in the area.

According to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, beauty tattoos for dogs is a trend that has mainly stayed confined to New York City. But putting tattoos on animals for identification purposes has been a system used for years, but although microchipping technology may be putting an end to that, tattoos are still useful in the pet world, according to some.

Veterinarians at the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society tattoo dogs on their bellies to show whether they have been spayed or neutered. That practice will still be allowed under the new law, however, who can administer those types of tattoos has changed.

“We think that’s the right way to do it, is to make sure that if the tattoo needs to be put on an animal, either for identification or to confirm their spay or neuter status, that it be done by those licensed professionals,” said Brad Shear with the MHHS.

The only licensed professional allowed to tattoo an animal will be a veterinarian with the proper training.

For the past 30 years, Catherine Crawmer has been tattooing numbers onto the legs of pets for identification purposes. Crawmer said she has gone to dog shows and given up to 40 tattoos to dogs in one sitting, with no harm caused.

“We’ve been using it forever, and it’s been very effective,” said Crawmers, the owner of Crawmers Animal Training.

But now that New York State has banned tattoos and piercings for animals, Crawmers dog show tattoo shop will close down because identification tattoos have to be administered by a veterinarian.

“We haven’t had any dog act like he was in some sort of pain,” said Crawmers.

Brad Shear says he stands by the bill, claiming any tattoo not under anesthetic is inhumane.

“It should be done by a licensed professional who is doing it in a sterile environment who is acknowledging that this procedure can be painful,” said Shear.

Although Crawmers disagrees that her tattoos hurt the animals, she says she has no choice but to obey the law. But she admits she will continue to tattoo her pets until the law takes effect.

“I’m sure what ever tattooing we need to do we are going to be doing it in a hurry, I’ve got a couple of my own dogs that still need to be done, so I’m going to do them right away,” said Crawmers.

The law takes effect in April.

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