Jeffersonville mom outraged over minor being illegally tattooed


by Gene Kang

Posted on November 5, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 6 at 1:44 AM

(WHAS11) -- Teenagers make mistakes but this one is permanent.

Lisa Berry is outraged her 15-year-old daughter, Heather Austin, snuck out of their Jeffersonville home to get a tattoo on her belly that says "Make Do and Mend."

 Berry says her daughter isn't the only teen being tattooed illegally.

"She's my child. He had no right to put his hands on her. I have to know that I wasn't there to protect her," Berry said.

"I thought it was a tattoo, it was my body and I can do what I want with it. Now I regret it because it looks stupid. It's crooked," Austin said.

Problem is that Berry can't believe it was done by 24-year-old Timothy Pennington, a licensed tattoo artist, in his own Louisville apartment. It's illegal in Kentucky to ink anyone under 17 without a parent or guardian's permission.

Oct. 19, the high school freshman got what she thought was a cool tattoo for $30. Three of her friends were already inked by Pennington.  A photo shows a symbol of an anchor on another minor's forearm.

Pennington even advertises taking Master Card and American Express on his Facebook page.

She went from talking to her friends about getting a tattoo, going on Facebook and then getting the phrase tattooed on her belly in an apartment complex at the 7200 block of Yorktown Road.

Austin described Pennington’s apartment.

"Disgusting. It was small, dirty with clothes and dirty old chip bags everywhere. It was gross," Austin said.

When WHAS11 asked Pennington if he was tattooing out of his apartment he had this to say.

"No, I do not have any tattoo equipment at all," Pennington said.

It took two hours to tattoo. Now it will take six months or longer to remove at a cost of more than $3,000.

A hard lesson learned, left with anger, this family wants others to be careful.

"Now we're just going down a long road of trying to get someone to answer to this and be accountable for [it]. Right now, it's Timothy Pennington and I would like to ask him. Why did he do this?" Berry said.

Berry says she filed a police report in Louisville. She was told that Pennington may only be fined anything from $10 to $100 after being investigated by the Health Department.

Berry wants Pennington’s tattoo license to be revoked immediately and says this crime needs harsher punishment.