What Would You Say to a Tattoo Artist Who Tattoos His Dog?

Mistah Metro says the tat makes his dog "cooler than yours." People are outraged. (Duh.)

Michael Leaverton  |  Mar 6th 2014


Tattoo artist Mistah Metro, who works at Brooklyn’s Red Legged Devil tattoo shop and appeared on the show NYC Ink, has been getting walloped on social media lately — so much so he had to shut down his Twitter and Instagram accounts. What happened?

Well, Mistah inked a large tattoo on his dog’s shoulder, posted the pic on Instagram, and waited for the rush of accolades and likes. Instead, he got hammered. Instead, he had to go to ground, deleting his accounts. Instead, his employer had to distance himself and his shop from his rogue employee.

Here’s the picture:

First, some context: Mistah did get approval from a vet for his tattooing, in a roundabout way. The dog was being sedated for major surgery — removal of spleen, according to Mistah — and Mistah says the vet allowed him to do the deed while the dog was under. Why the vet allowed that, we may never know. Here’s the message Mistah left with the photo:

“One of the many reasons my dog is cooler than yours! She had her spleen removed yesterday and the vet let me tattoo her while she was under.”

We believe the vet should not have let him do that. We think a tattoo does not make a dog cool, either. Mistah thinks different, and he was upset at the overwhelmingly negative reactions to him pushing a needle into his dog many many many many times. According to the New York Daily News, Mistah created another Instagram account to repost the photo and vent a little more:

Needless to say, nobody backed him up. Bombarded once again, he took down the photo. We can’t access any of Mistah’s social media accounts, nor can we access his website, www.mistahmetro.com, which was working yesterday.

Chris Torres is Mistah’s employer at the Red Legged Devil tattoo shop. He refused to give the artist’s given name to the New York Daily News. He also tried to distance himself from the controversy.

“Nothing happened at the shop,” Torres told the Daily News. “The dog didn’t get tattooed at this shop. It has nothing to do with this shop whatsoever. I’d appreciate it if everyone left me alone.”

And yet, Torres has also been doing dumb stuff on social media. He headed to Twitter to defend Mistah, writing: “You guys are aware that the ASPCA tattoos dogs & cats once they’ve spayed or neutered them, right?”

And when people said that Mistah should be fired: “People are still offered jobs after being pedophiles,” he tweeted. “I don’t know why everyone is treating this kid like he raped a 12-year-old.”

Gothamist got in touch with the ASPCA to get its take on Torres’ tweet, and the group wasted no time, releasing a statement of its own:

The ASPCA condones the use of tattooing for only identification purposes following spay or neuter surgery. This practice helps animal welfare professionals clearly identify animals that have been altered, thereby preventing unnecessary future surgeries. This painless procedure is performed by a licensed veterinarian or veterinary technician while the animal is under anesthesia. The marks are very small and have a specific purpose, which is to avoid inflicting undue pain and stress later if that animal is unknowingly brought in for a spay surgery a second time.

Tattooing an animal for the vain sake of joy and entertainment of the owner — without any regard for the well-being of the animal — is not something the ASPCA supports.

Gothamist also has a comment from the American Veterinary Medical Association. “We can’t say a tattoo is going to do enormous damage to an animal,” said animal welfare scientist Emily Patterson-Kane. “But we do look at whether a procedure is therapeutically necessary first — if it’s not, that’s not the vet’s goal.”

A tattoo of a heart with an arrow through it is not a vet’s goal, to be sure.

What do you think? Did Mistah Metro do something incredibly stupid, or is it okay, given that a vet was in the room? Let us know in the comments.

Via Gothamist and the New York Daily News; images via Instagram

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