The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance Tuesday introducing a letter grade system for groomers, pet hotels and other animal-related businesses. The system would be similar to the health inspection report cards posted in restaurant windows.
The animal care checklist will grade businesses on sanitation, availability of food and whether prey and predators are kept next to one another. The county inspects about 450 animal-related businesses annually in unincorporated areas and in 51 contract cities.
“This will hold to public view how businesses provide care,” said Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, who wrote the motion. “It gives people some insurance that [the county] will not close its eyes and let things go by.”
Burke said she wrote the ordinance because she read articles about poorly kept kennels. She said one of her staff members who wanted to board a cat was horrified by the conditions she saw.
Most pet owners in the county will see the new grades by this fall, said Marcia Mayeda, director of animal care and control for the county.
An “A” grade would mean nearly perfect compliance with state and local animal care laws. A “C” grade, Mayeda said, means the business could use improvement but is not bad enough to shut down. Businesses failing to receive a C or better could be shut down. Animals in immediate danger would still be removed at once.
Mary Pyle, who manages Reigning Cats and Dogs, a grooming salon and boarding house in Palmdale, said she liked the system. “There are some problem kennels,” she said. “There’s no doubt about that.”
Pam Nishime, 47, who owns a Pomeranian named Loki, said the new grading system would help her choose where to board or groom her dog.
“Lots of pets are part of the family,” she said.