Underwatertimes.com News Service - February 2, 2007 16:15 EST
tattooed fish

Tattooed fish with hearts, writing and even custom designs are making their way into pet stores.

tattooed fish2

Animal rights activists are condemning the tattoos as cruel.

At Steve's Wonderful World of Pets in Williamsville, N.Y., owner Steve Lane is selling tattooed fish for the first time. Some have polka dots, some have stripes and others even have pink hearts.

The fish are imported from Singapore. Lane believes they have to be restrained and then tattooed with a tattoo gun.

Four of the fish were brought and taken to the SPCA for their opinion.

Spokeswoman Gina Browning says the practice is not illegal as far as she knows, but they don't condone it.

"Morally and ethically what we're looking at is incorrect. Any animal lover would agree, it's so unnatural," says Browning.

Lane believes the tattooed fish just might develop a love of the hobby for some people.

"My hope is if it gets more people into the hobby it's a good thing. If a kid comes in and sees a fish with a heart on it and says I want a fish tank and learns how to care for it, I think it's a win," says Lane.