N.J. lawmakers seek to ban piercing and tattooing pets

N.J. lawmakers seek to ban piercing and tattooing pets

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N.J. lawmakers seek to ban piercing and tattooing pets

Kittens at Common Sense for Animals

Kittens are shown in this file photo. Three Assemblymen have introduced a bill that would explicitly ban piercing or tattooing pets (Bill Adams/Express-Times)

TRENTON — Have you tattooed your dog? Pierced your cat’s ears?

No? Well, three New Jersey lawmakers want to make sure you won’t.

Assemblymen Carmelo Garcia, Jason O’Donnell and Raj Mukherji (all D-Hudson) on Monday introduced a bill (A3588) to clarify that under New Jersey law, tattooing or piercing a pet amounts to animal cruelty.

Garcia, the lead sponsor, said, "It’s important to protect animals from those who see them not as living beings, but as a doll or a toy which they can play with, harm or discard."

"This bill makes it clear that piercing or tattooing any creature amounts to needless mutilation," he said. "And anyone who knowingly or purposely subjects an animal to these and other forms of cruelty will be penalized."

The bill — which two of the lawmakers said was brought to their attention by animal rights groups — is modeled after legislation passed by the New York legislature that’s awaiting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature.

The New Jersey bill, like the New York one, exempts farm animals like cows, sheep and goats, which are sometimes branded, tagged or marked in other ways for identification."I have two dogs, and I’ll be honest with you, my rules for my dogs is the same as my children: No tattoos or piercings, other than my daughter’s ears," said O’Donnell.There’s been no publicly documented examples of cats, pooches or other house pets in New Jersey being tattooed or pierced.Kathleen Schatzmann, state director of the Humane Society, said her organization needs to examine the legislation more before taking a position on it. Schatzmann said she has "not heard about" aesthetic animal tattooing or piercing happening in New Jersey.But a Pennsylvania woman made headlines in 2011 when she began selling "gothic kittens" with pierced ears.Even though Pennsylvania law does not explicitly ban pierced […]