LA Restaurant Defends Itself in Pink Donkey Fiasco

5/7/2011 6:00 AM PDT

LA Restaurant Defends Itself in Pink Donkey Fiasco

A famous Los Angeles restaurant is fighting back against claims it abused a donkey as part of a Cinco de Mayo stunt ... claiming the animal was perfectly cared for at all times.

Pink Taco took a lot of flack from locals -- and even on Twitter by a few celebs, like Pink and Lo Bosworth -- for dying a donkey pink and using it to promote the restaurant.

But a rep for Pink Taco tells TMZ, "We obtained a permit from the city to have the animal on site and the pink coloring used on the donkey was a safe, water-based and commonly used on animals in the entertainment industry. Additionally, the donkey’s trainer escorted him the entire appearance, he was on a leash, not a chain as reported in the media, and we provided plenty of water and care to him throughout."

The rep tells TMZ they have spoken with PETA about the incident and have decided it was in their best interest to not do anymore animal-related promotions in the future.