TattooingWell, this is just gross. A man in North Carolina has apparently taken it upon himself to tattoo his tiny, innocent puppy's belly ... and then of course post a photo of it on Facebook. Ernesto Rodriguez is a disabled army veteran and father of three, and he says his 4-month-old puppy, Duchess, has the intricate tattoo to help ID her. His other dog, Duke, is sporting the same one.

"They both have it. They both have their tattoos on them just in case anything happens to them," Rodriguez said.

But he's got animal lovers all up in arms, many of whom are calling what he has done animal cruelty and demanding that the dogs be taken away or that he should be banned from buying any more pets. Still, it seems that Rodriguez has no regrets. But you gotta ask, hasn't this guy ever heard of microchipping?

Apparently not. "I took her to the shop, tattooed her, and she slept the rest of the day," Rodriguez explained. But other folks are arguing that he posted the puppy pic on the Planet Ink Tattoo page for publicity for the tattoo parlor he ran in his basement, and an animal advocate, Caleb Scott, agreed that the whole thing sounds extremely weird.

"Really that's kind of suspicious in my mind," Scott said. "Usually, when you pick up a dog or cats they're already awake after the procedure. They don't usually hand you over a dog that is asleep ... On his first Facebook post he said he was bored and tattooing. I think now he's backpedaling, saying he's identifying it."

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But Rodriguez still maintains that the puppy was asleep after the procedure. He went on to say, "It's just like judging someone for wearing a tattoo. You judge and you think that they're bad people. It's not. It's just art. I'm an artist, I want to put art on my dogs. She was already asleep, so I took advantage of that."

Here's the photo he posted to Facebook:

puppy tattooed

And, no, dude, it's not like judging someone for having a tattoo at all -- because that individual is the one who made the decision to seek out a tattoo, pay for it, then have a needle buried deep into their skin to have an image marked on their bodies forever. A small, 4-month-old puppy isn't capable of making that kind of decision. And on its belly! That shit probably hurt! Even if they weren't awake during it, it still probably doesn't feel so pleasant when they woke up.

After all the complaints, Rodriguez was paid a visit by the Stokes County Health Department, which shut down Planet Ink Tattoo because it violated local zoning laws. Animal control officers also stopped by but didn’t charge him with animal cruelty.

Kind of sucks, as it gives the message that it's okay to tattoo large images like this one on your pets. Newsflash: It isn't! There are so many other ways to ID one's dog -- needling a very elaborate design into their stomachs shouldn't be one of them.

Do you think Rodriguez should have been charged with animal cruelty?

 

Images via Daniel Flower/Flickr & Facebook