CENTRALIA, Wash. - Police are investigating how a 13-year-old Washington state boy got a 6-inch tattoo of a dragon on his chest.
The Centralia boy's mother and police tell KING-TV (http://is.gd/SrnZxN) the tattoo was inked while the boy was on a trip with a family friend.
The boy, who wasn't identified, told his mom the tattoo marked his surviving leukemia. He isn't saying who did it.
It's a misdemeanor to tattoo a minor in Washington.
The state Department of Licensing will follow the police investigation and decide whether to take disciplinary action, which could mean a fine or suspension, spokeswoman Christine Anthony said.
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The department has received complaints about safety and sanitation, but this is the first involving a minor, she said.
The state started licensing the tattoo business two years ago. There currently are 383 tattoo shops and 1,124 licensed artists in Washington.
Police were notified about the boy's dragon tattoo by a family friend who saw it, said Sgt. Pat Fitzgerald.
It apparently happened within the past few months and police were concerned the parents encouraged it. Investigators found that was not the case, he said Wednesday.
"The parents were not happy about it," he said. "The parents would not have allowed or condoned it."
The family, which has eight children, has been visited previously by Child Protective Services workers for a welfare check, Fitzgerald said. They told police the parents were acting appropriately. The parents are not facing any charges, he said.
It's another matter for the person who inked the boy. Police have only a first name to go on, but that person could be given a misdemeanor citation if he is found.
The dragon is not the only tattoo for the 13-year-old, and he's not the only member of the family to go under the needle.
The boy and his mother both got heart-shaped tattoos about a year ago when they lived in Texas to mark a medical crisis, Fitzgerald said. The small heart is on the boy's ankle. The mother believed it was legal to have a minor tattooed in Texas with a parent's consent.
She did not agree to her son's dragon tattoo or another tattoo her 15-year-old son got from the same artist in Washington. Fitzgerald did not know what kind of tattoo the older brother has or where it is on his body.
The parents have put both boys on restrictions this summer as punishment, Fitzgerald said.