Dyeing pets: Colorful or cruel?

7:38 PM, Mar 8, 2012   |    comments
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  • 10 News reporter Preston Rudie looks into the practice of dyeing animals, a Florida ban that could be lifted if the Governor signs off on the measure.
  • Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich

St. Petersburg, Florida -- A ban prohibiting dyeing pets like bunnies and dogs could be lifted if the Governor signs off on the measure. But animal rights groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and others say letting people color their pets is inhumane and potentially deadly.

"If you use the wrong dye then the animal can actually suffocate because it covers their pores and such, so it's a very dangerous thing," said founder of the Suncoast Animal League Rich Chaboudy.

PETA issued the following statement regarding Florida's move to lift the 45-year-old ban:

"The sale of dyed chicks, rabbits, and other animals is illegal in more than 20 states because it is inhumane. Many of the bright-colored dyes are poisonous to animals, who are in danger of ingesting toxins when they preen themselves. Dyed animals are at the mercy of consumers who purchase them on a whim for a holiday, as mere novelties, without giving any thought to the resources required to provide these animals with proper lifelong care. Many of these chicks and rabbits die within weeks-victims of neglect (or in some cases, intentional cruelty)-while others are cruelly released outdoors, unable to fend for themselves, and the "luckier" ones are turned over to already overburdened animal shelters. We urge Florida legislators to uphold the prohibition on selling dyed animals in order to protect them from unnecessary suffering."

Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff of Fort Lauderdale pushed for the ban to be lifted saying dog groomers want to be able to color pets for competitions and parades.  

Bogdanoff moved to lift the ban by making an amendment to an agriculture bill (HB 1197) dealing with honeybees.

"Before long it will get out of hand," Chaboudy predicted.

He also believes if the Governor does approve the measure the legislature will end up revisiting the subject within a few years after realizing they've "made a mistake".

Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich, one of the few lawmakers who fought against lifting the ban, also told 10 News she fears permitting the sale of artificially colored animals will only lead to more impulse purchases which she says is not necessarily a good thing.

"People buy them and give them to their children and a couple of months down the road the children have lost interest and they end up in our shelters or just end up put out of the house and put out on the street," Rich said.

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