Bill Would Require Pet Groomer Licenses

A new bill would require groomers to pass a state-issued exam and get a license costing up to $350

By Kris Sanchez
|  Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012  |  Updated 11:22 AM PDT
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While some groomers say it’s too much on top of tools and other expenses, others say it would benefit the industry overall.

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A new bill would require groomers pass a state-issued exam and get a license costing up to $350.

Most pet owners have heard about them - pet grooming sessions gone bad.

Evelyn Ortiz of San Jose took her dog Riley, a 7-year-old King Charles Spaniel, for a haircut which turned out more than bad looking, it was painful.

“He was cut so closely you could tell that he was hurting in a couple of spots and that was disturbing to us,” Ortiz said.

State Senator Juan Vargas joined animal advocates on Valentine's Day to introduce new legislation aimed at preventing bad experiences like the one experienced by Ortiz and her pet.

SB 969, also known as "Lucy's Law," would requires groomers complete vocational training, pass a state-issued exam and get a license costing up to $350.

While some groomers say it’s too much on top of tools and other expenses they already have, one groomer sees it as a positive for more than just pet owners.

“I think that for the health of the animals, the safety of the animals and to better the industry overall, it’s probably important to have it regulated by the state and have all the groomers licensed,” said Ken Gelfand, a groomer in Campbell, Calif.

Gelfand has nine years of experience and on-the-job training under more senior groomers. He also has experience in pet grooming and dog shows. But, that’s not the case with everyone.

“I think it’s necessary that all groomers get certified so that people can be comfortable knowing that the person grooming their animal knows what they’re doing rather than just being a cashier who got pulled off their duties because the shop was short of staff,” Gelfand said, referring to something that actually happened at a shop where he used to work.

Vargas' bill is named for Lucy, a Yorkshire terrier who suffered a detached retina, severed leg ligament and lacerations to her nipples during a routine trip to the groomer.

Do you believe groomers should be licensed by the state? Let us know what you think. Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @nbcsandiego or add your comment to our Facebook page.

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