MIAMI — A South Florida man has been cited after his dog was dyed to look Pikachu from the "Pokémon" franchise during a Miami Heat game last week.
"It's made NBA history because nobody's ever seen a Pikachu dog sitting next to an NBA player before," owner Erik Torres told NBC affiliate WTVJ.
But the Pomeranian's fur color had already caught the attention of Miami-Dade County Animal Services during an inspection at Torres' Doral puppy store last month.
"Pikachu was in the store," Miami-Dade County Animal Services Assistant Director Kathleen Labrada said. "There was a staff member holding the dog in her lap. We obtained a photograph at that time."
Labrada told WTVJ that it is "unlawful for any person to possess, sell or otherwise transfer within the county any dyed or artificially colored rabbit or other animal."
A few days later, Torres was told Miami-Dade County Animal Services would be issuing a citation.
"No animal should be dyed, regardless of whether there's an ordinance prohibiting that or not," Labrada said. "You don't really have any guarantee or any assurance that the chemicals they're putting onto your pet are safe."
Torres argued that Pikachu is his dog and not for sale. He said he bought a bottle of dye that is safe for consumption, and he intends to appeal the citation, which carries a fine of about $200.
"At the end of the day, I had no idea this ordinance even existed," he told WTVJ.
Torres also said he has no plans to remove the dye.