For most pet owners, the last thing they’d think about while their animal was under anesthesia for surgery would be “man, now’s a good time to get Rover that ink he’s been wanting.” Primarily because, you know, animals have no concept of what a tattoo is, let alone a good one. Most people, however, are not NYC-based tattoo artist Mistah Metro.
Metro, an artist employed at New York’s Red Legged Devil tattoo shop (owned by Chris Torres of NY Ink fame), apparently decided to tattoo his dog with an “Alex & Mel” heart following a spleen removal. As indicated in his Instagram photo of the session, the vet gave him the OK to do the tattoo while the dog was knocked out.
Torres, for his part, denies being involved at all with the dog tattoo, saying that Metro did the work not at Red Legged Devil, but at the vet’s office, further adding “what employees do on their own time isn’t my business.”
Additionally, Torres let this gem slip:
"People are still offered jobs after being pedophiles," he said. “I don’t know why everyone is treating this kid like he raped a 12-year-old."
Allow me to explain.
The issue, it would seem, comes down to consent. When an adult human being gets a tattoo of their own volition, they have employed their ability to consent to a permanent procedure that ideally they have considered fully. Even with that element, tattoos are a hugely divisive topic that—even 5,000 years into us having them—no one can seem to agree on. Adding the element of a pet only compounds all that trouble.
Again, because of consent. Animals, being animals, don’t really understand the concept, and therefore cannot give their consent to an aesthetic procedure like this. Additionally, even if they could, there’s no way of telling what each individual animal would consent to because they are not people. In that sense, this tattoo was more or less forced on that dog, which will ultimately require weeks of care and maintenance that we can be certain it didn’t sign up for.
To be sure, the ASPCA tattoos animals following spaying/neutering, but that is minimal and in connection to a set of medical procedures. A cheesy heart tattoo, though? That’s vanity.
Mistah Metro has since taken down his website and social media profiles, and has not offered a comment on the situation. Which, to be fair, is probably his smartest move in all this yet.