New Jersey legislators -- a week after knocking it out of the park with the first U.S. law to entirely ban sales of ivory and rhino horn -- are taking aim at pet owners who want to tattoo or pierce their pets. A recently-introduced bill would make tattooing or piercing pets illegal and tantamount to animal cruelty.
"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," Carmelo Garcia, the bill's lead sponsor, tells The Star-Ledger.
The potential New Jersey law is modeled after a similar bill recently passed in New York, which is awaiting New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's signature.
There's no record of pierced or tattooed pets in New Jersey, but Garcia referred to the 2011 case of a Pennsylvania animal groomer who sold "gothic kittens" on eBay. Pennsylvania judges ruled that piercing kittens' necks, ears and bodies was animal cruelty.
The New Jersey law would still allow farmers to mark their animals for identification, although The Star Ledger reports that the bill does not make an exception for small ID tattoos on pets.