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Man tattoos pit bull: Is that animal cruelty?

Man tattoos pit bull on the dog's belly. The North Carolina man received a firestorm of criticism from those who consider tattoos on a pit bull, or any other dog, cruelty.

By Staff writer / March 30, 2013

Duchess, a five-month old pit bull, has a tattoo on her belly put there by her owner Ernesto Rodriguez. He says the tattoo is a crest that represents her bloodlines.

Facebook/Ernesto Rodriguez

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Ernesto Rodriguez put a tattoo on his pit bull. Few people ever saw the inked crest since it was on the dog's belly. But when he posted it on his Facebook page, Mr. Rodriguez ignited a firestorm of criticism.

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“You are an absolutely disgusting human being for claiming that you ‘love’ your dog and think that it’s ok to tattoo him.  Did he give you informed consent? No.  He’s a dog. You have no empathy for animals and should not be allowed to care for any and you should not be allowed to be a tattoo artist because you have poor ethics," wrote Stephanie Bay, according to the Guardian Express.

A military veteran and owner of a couple of pit bulls, Rodriguez told WXII12-TV in Winston-Salem, N.C., that the dog Duchess was asleep - sedated - and had a local anesthetic to boot. "I love my dogs. There's people out there saying that I'm cruel, that I hurt my dogs, that I don't love my dogs ... that I should be in jail," he told WX112. "I paid a lot of money for my dogs and I take care of them."

The Facebook post may have been intended to earn Rodriguez more business for his tattoo parlor, "Planet Ink Tattoo," which he runs out of his basement in Pinnacle, N.C.

But it also won him a visit from the Stokes County Health Department which shut down his tattoo parlor because it violated local zoning laws.

Local animal control officers also visited but found nothing that violated the law. “Here is the final results for you haters out there,” Rodriguez posted on Facebook, “Animal control came looked at my beautiful dog and left… wow… what a waste of tax payers (sic) money… so im (sic) still gonna tattoo my dogs when ever i feel like it… good try haters thanks for all the advertisement.”

While Rodriguez found himself being criticized, many animal rights groups recommend tattoos for identification purposes.

On the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) website, the following is posted in the section about implanting a microchip under the skin to protect pets from theft or loss.

"To make doubly sure that their animals are returned if lost or stolen, many caretakers also have their animals tattooed on their inner thigh with an identification number, such as their social security number, in their veterinarian's office or at a tattoo clinic. Unlike microchips, tattoos are visible (as long as the hair over the tattoo is thin or kept shaved or clipped short) and more noticeable to a person or animal shelter that may not have microchip scanning capabilities or knowledge of scanning technology."

What do you think: Is putting a tattoo on a pet cruel?

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