Pet Tattoos: Art or Abuse?

Is it wrong to give a dog a tattoo? A cat? Most people’s instincts probably point towards a hard “no.” But for some, it’s not a particularly troubling moral quandary. And for a tiny handful, tattooing animals is a major source of income.

The trend is currently in its nascent stages. A place where it should, perhaps, remain. Many very loud voices have called the practice animal cruelty while other, softer ones, insist that it’s humane and a valid form of art. The photos in this post are all real, and some of them may be unsettling, though none of them are bloody. Though depending upon your taste, they may be inspiring.


Body modifications for companion animals have made headlines in the past few years. In March of 2014, a Brooklyn, New York tattoo artist who calls himself “Mistah Metro” posted this photo to his Instagram account, showing a shoulder tattoo he gave to his dog while it was anesthetized for spleen removal surgery.

The post went viral, and led to New York legislators passing a law that explicitly bans pet tattoos, punishable with up to 15 days in jail and a $250 fine. The aftermath was severe for Metro, who received multiple death threats and eventually quit his job.