Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed a bill to increase protections for pets across New York State. The bill prohibits the unnecessary piercing and tattooing of cats, dogs, and all other pets for purely cosmetic purposes for the pleasure of the owner, except under limited circumstances. Those who violate the law will be subject to criminal penalties.
"This is animal abuse, pure and simple," Governor Cuomo said. "I'm proud to sign this common sense legislation and end these cruel and unacceptable practices in New York once and for all."
The bill (A.739-D/S.6769-C) prohibits the piercing or tattooing of all pets, including cats and dogs, to protect the animals from unnecessary harm. The bill allows the use of piercing and tattooing in only limited circumstances, such as ear tags on rabbits, tattoos for identification purposes only, or where the piercing provides a medical benefit to the animal and is performed by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
A violation of the law is punishable by imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days and/or a fine not to exceed $250. The law will take effect in 120 days.
Senator Tom Libous, sponsor of the bill, said, "Subjecting animals to body piercing or tattooing is unconscionable and cruel. Animals can't speak out against undergoing a painful procedure like piercing or tattooing – I'm glad we're standing up for them and banning this heartless practice."
Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, sponsor of the bill, said, "While people can decide whether they would like to undergo the pain associated with a tattoo or piercing, animals do not have that luxury. Subjecting animals to painful cosmetic procedures, such as tattooing and piercing, merely to satisfy an individual’s misguided and selfish aesthetic predilections, is inhumane and should be considered cruelty by the law. I am pleased that the Governor signed my bill into law; doing so sends a strong message that this kind of behavior constitutes animal abuse and that it will not be tolerated."