KERRVILLE As good tattoo artists say: A good tattoo is not cheap and a cheap tattoo is not good.

Kerrville police said they recently forwarded a complaint to the Texas Department of State Health Services concerning two individuals accused of operating illegal tattoo shops out of their homes.

Please go to a licensed tattoo parlor or facility and not just to somebody that you know to get a tattoo, Sgt. Mary Krebs said.

It is against the law to operate without a tattoo facility license and to operate within a house. Violations can result in administrative penalties up to $5,000 per day per violation.

Anke Rickettes, owner of In the Flesh Tattoo in Kerrville, has been doing things the right way for 18 years.

She said they follow standard precautions for infection control and properly sterilize all the equipment. Their machine is tested once a month.

Rickettes said she'd like to see the State of Texas require tattoo artists be licensed -- not just the facility they're operating in.

They also should regulate a tattoo artist like a bartender -- they have to have a license, Rickettes said. This would ensure that they are actually knowledgable of all the sterilization, cross-contamination and everything that goes with tattooing.

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services responded to KENS 5 in regards to the Kerrville investigation in an e-mail:

If we receive a complaint, we can and do investigate. If we find evidence of violations we can try to get the person in compliance or we can assess penalties. It is also a Class A misdemeanor for violating the law. That's why we can and do refer cases to local law enforcement, the e-mail said.

There is a hotline to report concerns about tattoo artists or facilities. The number is 1-888-839-6676 or 512-834-6755.

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