Ernesto Rodriguez is in the doghouse in many people’s eyes.

The Stokes County, North Carolina man has raised eyebrows for giving his dog a tattoo. Rodriguez put the tat on his four-month-old pit bull, named Duchess. He says that his other dog, Duke, has a tattoo, as well.

Rodriguez, who owns a tattoo parlor, placed the ink on the pooches’ bellies as a means of identification, noting, “They both have it. They both have their tattoos on them just in case something happens to them.”

While several people feel what Rodriguez did was inhumane, PETA actually has no problem with him, claiming tattoos are fine 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 just shrugs off the criticism, saying, “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.”

You can see the tattoo below and draw your own conclusions.

WXII, Facebook

Adding to the drama is the fact Rodriguez was issued as cease and desist order, prohibiting him from tattooing people or animals until he obtained legal zoning permits for his store.

No charges have been filed against Rodriguez, with one state official saying giving a tattoo to a pet is legal unless it is animal cruelty, which would be the case if the creature feels pain. Rodriguez reportedly put Duchess under during the procedure.

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