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Pol Introduces Bill to Outlaw Pet Tattoos and Piercing

By Nicholas Rizzi | May 4, 2012 8:30am

STATEN ISLAND — New Yorkers might have to think twice about getting that tribal tattoo on their terrier.

A Staten Island politician introduced legislation Thursday that would outlaw piercing, tattooing or preforming cosmetic surgery on pets.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) penned the legislation after watching a documentary on ABC's "20/20," "Pet Crazy," about people who preform such procedures on their animals, according to her office.

"I was sickened after seeing the images of dogs with tattoos and piercings through their eyebrows and noses," Malliotakis said.

"While the psychological effects on these animals is an area of debate, the fact remains that most of these procedures require an application of general anesthesia which poses a health risk in itself."

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis
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Facebook/Nicole Malliotakis

If passed, the bill would classify these pet procedures as misdemeanors. People convicted would face a $1,000 fine, a maximum of one year in prison, or both.

A Pennsylvania woman, Holly Crawford, was convicted of animal cruelty for piercing kittens' ears and marketing them online as "gothic kittens," according to the Associated Press. She was arrested in 2008.

The bill will also extend to the sale of animals that have already been subjected to cosmetic procedures, to try and stop retailers from modifying animals for to get a better price, the release said.

The bill has garnered support from local animal rights activists, including Anarchy Animal Rescue of Staten Island and No More Tears Rescue.

"Has our society become so vain that we would submit our beloved companions to unnecessary and possibly life-threatening procedures? These are loved ones, not accessories,” Dr. Michelle Werner, a veterinarian at Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital, said.

The bill will be carried by Senator Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn) and they will try to gain support for the bill at the second annual Animal Advocacy Day in Albany on June 13.