Mom Arrested After Giving Her 11-year-old a Tattoo

If your pre-teen wanted a tattoo, would you let her get one? A North Carolina mom who moonlights as a tattoo artist figured it would be fine, and now she's in trouble with police for giving her 11-year-old daughter a tattoo.

"She asked me to do it," 30-year-old Odessa Clay, who sports plenty of her own body art, told WCTI-TV. The tattoo is of a small heart near the girl's right shoulder.

Related: Would you let your 10-year-old get a tattoo?

Clay told the TV station that she thought minors could get tattoos as long as their parents approved; given that she's the girl's mother, she didn't think it would be a problem. Clay, who also hangs drywall and sells Mary Kay products, according to her public Facebook page, said that she used her own tattoo instruments and numbed her daughter's arm before permanently drawing on the outline of a heart.

"I didn't fill it in," she said, adding that the girl was not in any pain.

Related: Mommy Tattoos, the new trend for female celebrities?

Given that she inked her daughter last year, but wasn't arrested until late September, Clay says that she thinks a former in-law told police about her daughter's body art in retaliation for the police report that Clay filed recently against her daughter's paternal grandfather. Clay due in court next month to face a single count of tattooing a person under the age of 18, and has not been charged with child abuse.

At least her daughter's tattoo is tiny. In June, a 13-year-old boy in Washington state went on a trip with a family friend and returned with a 6-inch tattoo of a dragon on his chest.

"The parents were not happy about it," police told The Associated Press. "The parents would not have allowed or condoned it."

Almost every state requires parental permission in order to tattoo a minor; in North Carolina and 13 other states, kids under age 18 can't get tattoos even if their parents do approve. (You can find a state-by-state listing of body art regulations here.) The reasoning is that kids, no matter how savvy they seem, aren't mature enough to make life-altering decisions on their own.

Earlier this year, Chuntera Napier was arrested in Georgia and charged with child cruelty and being party to a crime after she allowed her 10-year-old son, Gaquan, to get a tattoo in honor of his late brother.

"I always thought if a parent gives consent, then it's fine," Napier said in January. "How can somebody else say it's not OK? He's my child, and I have a right to say what I want for my child."

What do you think, parents? Why is acceptable to have your child's ears pierced, even multiple times, but illegal to allow them to get a tattoo?