Upper East Siders may be tramp-stamping their French bulldogs with temporary tattoos, but there’s a little-known bill working its way through the state legislature that’s trying to ban the real thing.
Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, whose district includes much of Midtown and the Upper West Side, has passed several laws dealing with animal cruelty in her seven years in the state legislature, including a 2006 bill that ushered in court-ordered protection for pets. This session she’s working on another piece of legislation, one that would prohibit “animal piercing and tattooing except for identification or medical benefit.”
But is real animal tattooing taking place in New York? “Last year I heard the story of a Pennsylvania woman who was piercing the necks of kittens and selling them as gothic accessories,” Rosenthal told the Voice. “There are hundreds upon hundreds of Youtube videos and websites that show animals that have studs in their ears, tattoos on their backs, and it’s really horrifying,” she said. “I want to make it a criminal offense.”
After that particular case, Pennsylvania judges convicted the woman of animal cruelty.
Rosenthal has another bill that would create a database of animal abusers. “Some people get animals from shelters just to torture them,” she said. “I think most mass murderers began as animal torturers.”
On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he’d also be launching something called the Animal Protection Initiative, a renewed effort to crack down on puppy mills, neglect, and animal fighting rings.
“Fighting animal cruelty is both a consumer protection issue and a public safety issue,” he said in a statement. “There is a direct correlation between the dog fighting rings and other criminal enterprises, including gangs, gambling and illegal drugs, that put our communities at risk. At the same time, New Yorkers spend millions of dollars each year on the companionship a pet can provide.”
As for the temporary dog tattoos, Rosenthal still thinks gluing rhinestones on your pitbull is wrong-headed. “You have to let them have their integrity and dignity. And putting stupid little sparkles on them, I think it looks foolish,” she said.
“People have to understand that animals are separate from human companions. They’re not an extension of them, and you should not do things to your animals that you would do to yourself.”