Ernesto Rodriguez is a Stokes County, NC tattoo artist who’s now taking a lot of flack over the recent tattooing of his dog. Duchess, a four month old pit bull puppy, now wears a tattoo of a design that includes a crest related to her bloodline as well as her name. A good portion of her underbelly is covered with the new tattoo. According to Rodriguez, his other dog Duke also sports a similar tattoo.
Rodriguez is a disabled American war veteran who served in Iraq and is the father of three children. He operates a tattoo business in the basement of his Pilot Mountain, NC home.
Soon after Rodriguez posted the Facebook photos of Duchess, the page went viral with complaints of animal abuse. Ernesto insists the tattoo is a means of identification, much like farmers use to identify their livestock.
President of N.C. Voters for Animal Welfare, Caleb Scott became suspicious after seeing the photos on Facebook and contacted FOX8 to try and get some answers. Scott believes the whole situation suspicious. Animals aren’t usually sent home totally sedated after a vet procedure, and this prompted Scott to investigate. Rodriguez insists Duchess was asleep before, during and after receiving her tattoo.
Scott believes animal cruelty statutes were violated because Duchess had to have experienced pain while the tattoo was being done.
Rodriguez claims he did the procedure while Duchess was still under the effects of anesthesia after going to the vet for ear clipping. Rodriguez told FOX8 “Then I took her to [my] shop, tattooed her, and she slept the rest of the day.”
“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 dog. She was already asleep so I took advantage of that,” Rodriguez told FOX8.
The Stokes County Health Department and Animal Control investigated the matter, but no charges were filed against Rodriguez. He was given a cease and desist order for tattooing humans without the proper permits.
Stokes County officials released a statement earlier in the week. “Stokes County Government is investigating a report that an unlicensed tattoo business is being operated in the county at 1396 Millsap Road, Pinnacle, NC which is not zoned for this type of business. A “Cease and Desist Order” on the tattoo business has been issued by the Health Department to the residents located at this address. Should the County’s investigation reveal any illegal activities occurring at this residence, appropriate actions will then be taken.”
Is Ernesto Rodriguez an animal abuser for tattooing his dog? I’ve done a bit of research into tattooing dogs in SC. It’s a form of registration that may protect a dog if lost or stolen. Registered dogs in SC are tattooed in the ear, and penalties are stiff for anyone who steals a tattooed dog. Should an animal control officer in SC pick up a tattooed registered dog, he must send the owner a registered letter, allowing the owner two weeks to make arrangements to reclaim their dog.
I realize a tattoo to the underbelly is much larger than those used to register a dog through an ear tattoo. The tattoo on Duchess falls more into the category of “art” rather than “identification.” Those done in SC are very small and are done in the left ear.
From experience, I find it difficult to believe Duchess slept all afternoon. I’ve taken home a lot of animals after surgery. They’re awake within minutes of the operation, but tend to stay unbalanced for the rest of the day and have to be watched to prevent injury. I’d be seriously concerned should a dog sleep an entire day after a procedure. I was recently allowed in the surgical room shortly after my dog was neutered. He was awake and moving around within five minutes.
Readers, how do you feel about this issue? Did Rodriguez have the right to tattoo his dog for any reason? Do any of you believe Duchess slept all day after having her ears clipped? Should Rodriguez face any charges or is this situation being blown out of proportion?
Your comments are welcome.
SOURCE: FOX8 News