Senator wants pet groomers to be licensed by state

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Pet groomers would have to get a license from the state, pay fees and meet new standards under legislation introduced after a Terrier-mix allegedly was injured at a Riverside County grooming business.

Sen. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) has introduced ‘Lucy’s Law,’ named after a dog that he said suffered eye and leg injuries after her owner left her at a groomer in Palm Springs. During the grooming process, five of the dog’s nipples accidentally were shaved off, according to David Martin, the animal’s owner.


‘Something has to be done about this,’ Martin said. ‘Dog groomers don’t have to have any training to be groomers.’

SB 969 would make it a crime for a groomer to operate in California without getting a license from the state Veterinary Medical Board. Vargas is still developing the requirements that would have to be met to get a license, standards for disciplinary action by the board, and his bill would leave it to the board to set the fee.

A representative of the National Dog Groomers Assn. of America said no other state requires licensing. ‘Most groomers want to see more professionalism in grooming, but not the red tape of government, and it is a very, very volatile subject amongst groomers,’' said one California groomer affiliated with the group, who did not want to be identified.

Vargas said the state needs to act. ' ‘Lucy’s Law’ is in response to the many animals who are injured each year by untrained pet groomers,’ the senator said, adding he has become ‘convinced that the state Legislature should at least consider a change in law to professionalize the pet grooming industry.’


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-- Patrick McGreevy, reporting from Sacramento.