The Oklahoma City Council has voted to change a year-old law that banned the artificial coloring of pet fish. Tattooing and injecting dye into fish will still be illegal, but other forms of coloring, including dye baths, will be permissible under the revised law.
It all started a few months ago when someone visited a pet store and saw a fish with “I love you” tattooed on its scales. Animal control was called, and the pet store owner told officers that he got the fish from Quality Pets.
The officers confiscated an estimated $1,700 worth of tattooed fish from Quality Pets and euthanized them.
Donald Fleming, the owner of Quality Pets, was outraged when his fish were seized and euthanized. He said that many other pet stores like Petsmart, Petco, and Wal-Mart color their tropical fish by either injecting dyes or through a dye bath process.
He added: “Are we going to hire fish police to go out and confiscate these fish and euthanize them for their own good?â€ Fleming also stated that he treats all of his animals humanely. He said before he tattoos the fish, he sedates them, so they can’t feel any pain.
But Cynthia Armstrong of the Humane Society of the United States disagrees with Fleming. She said many animal rights organizations consider dying a fish or injecting dye into a fish to be inhumane and painful. She said that because dye baths will still be legal, fish will still endure painful coloring processes.
“The fish literally drinks and bathes in this chemical die,â€ Armstrong said. “This is extremely damaging to fish. It has a very high mortality rate. It makes them more prone to infectious diseases and shortens the life span for fish that do survive.â€
The only councilman who voted against the amendment said the revision is useless because it is difficult to determine if a fish is colored with a dye bath or an injection.
“This ordinance, as I understand it, would essentially be unenforceable,â€ the councilman said. “There is no way we could go in and tell how a fish was colored.â€
The assistant city manager said most likely the only part of the ban that will be enforced is tattooing fish.
Source: The Oklahoman