Man tattoos pit bull in North Carolina

Stokes County Health Department and Animal Control are investigating Ernesto Rodriguez after a Facebook posting, showing his dog with a tattoo, stirs controversy in the community (WXII12.com)

Stokes County Health Department and Animal Control are investigating Ernesto Rodriguez after a Facebook posting, showing his dog with a tattoo, stirs controversy in the community (Photo: WXII12.com/Facebook)

STOKES COUNTY, N.C. — A North Carolina man is being investigated by health department officials after he reportedly tattooed his dog and posted a photo of the animal on Facebook.

According to North Carolina’s WXII-TV, Ernesto Rodriguez tattooed “Duchess,” his 5-month-old purebred American bully on her underbelly in his basement tattoo parlor on Wednesday.

Rodriguez said the tattoo is an emblem that represents her bloodline.

See an interview with the dog’s owner here.

Then, Rodriguez decided to post a picture of Duchess’ tattoo on his Facebook page, saying that he tattooed his dog for identification purposes.

“What do they do when they brand animals and tattoo horses on their ear and brand their cow? You’re not abusing them. You’re just protecting them so they don’t get lost,” Rodriguez told the news station.

According to WXII-TV, officials from the health department issued a cease and desist order asking Rodriguez to stop tattooing people until he gets the proper zoning permits.

Dr. Ken Wheeler, an investigator with the state veterinary medical board told the station that it’s not illegal for people to tattoo their pets unless it’s considered to be animal cruelty. Cruelty would be defined as the animal feeling pain or being maimed or dismembered, according to Wheeler.

Rodriguez says his dog was asleep when he tattooed her.

“I even used topical anesthetic on the skin, so she didn’t feel anything. She got up and she’s been fine,” Rodriguez said.

Read more at WXII12.com.