MIAMI (WSVN) - A Miami Heat fan who faced backlash after he showed off his dog’s Pokémon-inspired dyed fur during a game said his pet’s dye job was completely safe.
Speaking with 7News on Thursday night, Erik Torres said he has nothing to be sorry for regarding what he did to his furry companion Zsa Zsa.
“I’m not going to apologize, because at the end of the day, I knew exactly what I was doing,” he said.
But not everyone was on board with his Pomeranian’s bright yellow paint, which made the animal look uncannily like the cartoon character Pikachu.
Video of Torres and his perky fluffball rocking the anime look while sitting courtside during Monday night’s game quickly went viral.
“I don’t think that dog signed off on that paint job,” said a commentator at the game.
Criticism swiftly ensued, with people calling the highliner-yellow dye job animal abuse.
But Torres said nothing could be further from the truth.
“I did my homework, I did my research, and I knew that in no way or form would this affect my animal, my dog,” he said.
But his claims did not stop the onslaught of scorn about Zsa Zsa’s brightly hued makeover, which took place after he sent the pooch to California to have his fur dyed.
Torres, who opted to have the animal dyed because his daughter is a big Pokémon fan, insisted the dye used on Zsa Zsa was not harmful.
“Yes, it’s growing out, and as you can tell, there’s no irritation to the skin,” he said.
But even if the dye job is harmless, as Torres claims, that doesn’t mean it’s legal. The pet owner was fined $200 for violating Miami-Dade County Ordinance 5-12A, which essentially states it’s illegal to be in possession of any dyed or artificially colored animal.
Officials with Miami-Dade Animal Services said Zsa Zsa was first spotted at Torres’ business in Doral.
MDAS spokesperson Kathleen Labrada said the citation was issued long before the video of the dog went viral.
“We actually received a complaint from an individual ob December 20th in reference to a sick puppy that he purchased on December 17th, so while in the store conducting that inspection on December 21st, we did see the artificially colored dog in the store,” she said.
Torres said he’s shocked by all the criticism, but still stands firm in his contention that he did nothing wrong.
“We live in a free country, and if they feel a certain type of way, they can go ahead and do research, just the same way I did, and understand what happened and where this dye came from,” he said.
Torres said Zsa Zsa’s dye will grow out in about 6 months.
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