What NJ forgot in ban on pet tattoos, piercings - Dr. Marty Becker

What NJ forgot in ban on pet tattoos, piercings

Tuesday, Aug 12th, 2014 | By Dr. Marty Becker

Dog decorative ornament vectorMost pet lovers would agree that piercing and tattooing are an individual choice for people, but needless and cruel for pets. The state of New Jersey wants to ban those practices for companion animals, but they forgot a crucial exception in their proposed law.

Tattoos are widely used to indicate a pet has been spayed or neutered. That way, no female dog or cat who is later taken into a shelter or animal control agency will undergo the risks of spay surgery only to have the veterinarian discover she’s already been sterilized.

Likewise for male dogs and cats who were “Zeutered,” or non-surgically sterilized by zinc injection. Although the testicles do eventually become smaller, it’s still not always possible to know that the pet was altered already. For that reason, pets who are neutered in this manner have a small green “Z” tattooed on the inner thigh.

Additionally, while I prefer microchipping, some people do still have their pets tattooed with a number for purposes of identification. This may not be effective, but it’s certainly not a form of cruelty.

I think tattoo lovers should stick to getting a tattoo of their pets, not on their pets. So while I applaud the sentiment, I encourage lawmakers to amend this proposed bill to exempt the use of tattoos to identify sterilized animals as well as for ID purposes.

What do you think?