Pet Grooming May Soon Be Regulated in California. Good Idea or Bad?

Grooming may seem like an easy-breezy profession, with shampoo in the eyes or an uneven haircut being about the only consequences of a grooming error....

 |  Feb 23rd 2012  |   49 Contributions


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"Hey, bud, watch the carotid, OK?"

Grooming may seem like an easy-breezy profession, with shampoo in the eyes or an uneven haircut being about the only consequences of a grooming error. But it's a serious business, and when things go amiss, they can do so in a big way, including:

Shearing off body parts such as nipples, ears, and even tail tips

Wounding a dog, gluing over the wound, covering the injury with fur, and the wound later becoming severely infected

Dropping a dog, resulting in serious bodily injury

Dogs dying from heat exhaustion in cage dryers

Most groomers are extremely conscientious, and little accidents (nicks, cutting to the quick of the nail) can happen to anyone. But a few careless or ill-educated (completely noneducated in some cases) groomers can cause the whole industry to be questioned, and can keep people resisting a trip to a groomer in order to keep their pets safe.

San Diego Senator Juan Vargas is trying to make the industry safer, and has crafted a bill that would require vocational training for groomers. It would mandate that they pass a state-issued exam, and obtain a license that costs up to $350. If the bill passes, California would be the first U.S. state to require a vocational license for groomers.

Some groomers think it's a great idea. Others say no education can take the place of experience, and that experience should be taken into account.

"You can't regulate experience. If you're trying to regulate the problems, you potentially mislead the consumers into believing the regulations or licensing is an equivalent of skills or experience," Pamela Demarest, the owner of Sacramento's Launderdog & More! grooming service and pet shop, said in an article in The Sacramento Bee. "To have the state of California be the tail that wags the dog is a mistake."

Last week I wrote about a Petco in Hawaii where a dog's ear was allegedly nicked by a groomer, who glued it back on and didn't say a word. The dog's owner hired a lawyerm who says the tip of his own dog's tail was also lopped off at the same Petco.

Vargas thinks groomers should uphold professional standards in the same way as hairstylists, lawyers, and doctors, and hopes that this kind of problem would be far less common if the bill passes.

I'm not big on regulating everything, but I wonder if this could help this industry, in which there are so many ill-trained — and even untrained — groomers? Sure, it's easy to get recommendations, but not everyone does this. Some just trust that a big-name pet store will have qualified groomers, and we've seen the results of that.

What do you think? Is this legislation that's been needed for a long time, or is it overkill?

Sources: Sacramento Bee, NBC Bay Area

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