Is It Wrong to Tattoo Your Dog?

When his dog was sedated after a surgery, Brooklyn tattoo artist Mistah Metro decided to take the opportunity to make it the coolest dog of all New York City: by giving it a tattoo!

In an Instagram post that has since been deleted, Mistah Metro proclaimed that "My dog is cooler than yours!" The dog had her spleen removed, the artist explained, and the vet let him tattoo her while she was under. Mistah Metro chose the classic Cupid-style heart with the names "Alex" and "Mel" (for himself and his wife).

When the photo went viral, animal lovers were predictably outraged.

Chris Torres, the owner of Red Legged Devil's tattoo shop where the artist works, claimed that the dog was not tattooed there. "[it] didn't happen at the shop, so it's none of my business," he said. "Yeah, just be glad it wasn't a Chinese symbol or chain link," he later added.

Tattooing a dog is actually not exactly a rare practice - the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) itself does it all the time, but for a very different reason, as reported by Gothamist:

The ASPCA condones the use of tattooing for only identification purposes following spay or neuter surgery. This practice helps animal welfare professionals clearly identify animals that have been altered, thereby preventing unnecessary future surgeries. This painless procedure is performed by a licensed veterinarian or veterinary technician while the animal is under anesthesia. The marks are very small and have a specific purpose, which is to avoid inflicting undue pain and stress later if that animal is unknowingly brought in for a spay surgery a second time.

Tattooing an animal for the vain sake of joy and entertainment of the owner - without any regard for the well-being of the animal - is not at all comparable to the incident in question and is not something the ASPCA supports.

What do you think? Is it wrong to tattoo your dog?

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I have never understood the ear cropping but making the tail shorter does prevent future pain in some breeds. My friend didn't crop his dog's tail even though it was recommended for the breed and now the dog hits his tail on everything. Sometimes hard enough to spray blood.
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There's various things we do to dogs/pets that they don't consent to, but they just have to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Tattooing a dog, IMHO, i similar to piercing ears for a baby or toddler. It causes some physical harm, carries with it some risk of permanent injury (infection etc), and only suits vanity. Same goes for cropping of ears and docking of tails. The easiest test for these sorts of answers is to consider the net welfare of the animal.
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It's funny, because when I was in high school, this is exactly the question I asked in a Law class, and everyone just sort of laughed and considered me a crazy person. I think the actual question I asked was "Is it morally ok to tattoo flames on a small hairless dog?"

My argument was that indeed, that it does cause some suffering to the dog, but after it healed, that would absolutely be the coolest dog anyone had ever seen, so it would probably get a huge amount of attention, and considering attention is like crack to a dog, it would be a net positive in its life. Not to say ALL dogs should be tattooed but I digress.

Mostly it's just hilarious to see that I'm not the only person who asked the question, and others didn't laugh at them and call them insane.
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