A mother has been arrested for allegedly allowing her young children to get tattoos.
According to police in Lago Vista, Texas, 31-year-old Ashley Weir was reported for permitting her three children, all under the age of 13, to receive tattoos, KTBC News reports.
Court documents state that the incident, which was reported on March 28, started when the children went to Weir’s home after school. Once the father came to pick them up, he saw that each child had fresh tattoos and requested a welfare check on Weir.
Kate Hellenbrand, owner of Shanghai Kate’s Tattoos, explained some of the various reasons why it is illegal for children to receive tattoos.
"Well it's unethical, it's immoral," Hellenbrand told KTBC News. "It's everything I can think of that is a travesty against empathy, against caring for a human, a child. I mean yeah, it's everything that's important to me as an artist in this field."
The tattoos were allegedly done by Weir’s boyfriend's brother, who is also a registered sex offender.
"There's no cleanliness," Hellenbrand explained. "He probably had one needle. He didn't certainly go through hospital style sterilization and single service, which is what we do and any tattoo artist does. You know, that's the first thing you learn."
Each child had a tattoo placed on an ankle, one of a cross, another of a heart with an arrow, and the last one with an infinity sign with a cross.
"Tattooing was once very honorable, very sacred and now it's available online," Hellenbrand said. "You can buy the equipment at Sears, you can buy it at Walmart and videos are online that can give you some kind of an idea of what to do. It takes a good 10 years of training to know how to tattoo."
According to the Food and Drug Administration, permanent tattoos can pose several risks, such as infections, scarring, granulomas and MRI complications. Michelle Eades of Mad Dog Tattoo Removal has also seen some of the long-term effects that children with tattoos may experience.
"When students go into a classroom and their teacher sees them with a tattoo, they already think that automatically this person is a trouble-maker," Eades told KTBC News.
Weir, who reportedly told police she was intoxicated at the time of the incident, was charged with tattoos prohibited for certain persons. She has previously been convicted of other intoxication-related crimes.
The father has decided to fight for custody of the three children.