Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal Bill to Ban Tattooing and Piercing of Companion Animals Becomes Law

December 15, 2014

New York, NY – Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) announced today that her bill to prohibit tattooing and piercing of companion animals was signed into law by the Governor. The bill passed both houses of the Legislature unanimously earlier this year.

“People can choose to tattoo or pierce their own bodies, but their pets do not enjoy that same luxury, said Linda B. Rosenthal. “Anyone who would subject an animal to needless pain and suffering to make a fashion statement should be guilty of a crime, and with my law, they will now face stiff penalties.”

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal introduced the bill in July 2011, after hearing about a Pennsylvania woman who was selling “gothic kittens” with piercings on their ears, necks and down the length of their spines. The bill gained momentum earlier this year after controversy erupted when a Brooklyn tattoo artist tattooed his pit bull during a surgery to remove the dog’s spleen.

“Though it may seem inconceivable that anyone would tattoo or pierce their dog or cat, a quick internet search reveals that it is a growing trend among some sadly misguided individuals,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “Plain and simple, this is animal abuse.”

The law, which was sponsored by Tom Libous in the Senate, will take effect in 120 days and will make it illegal to tattoo or pierce companion animals unless performed by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian for identification or medical purposes only. Anyone found in violation of this new section of law would face up to 12 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.