A new bill would require groomers pass a state-issued exam and get a license costing up to $350.
Senate Bill 696, also known as Lucy's Law, would require groomers complete vocational training, pass a state-issued exam and get a license costing up to $350.
The bill was approved Monday by the Senate Appropriations Committee, and is now on its way to the Senate for a vote.
Most pet owners have heard of 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 the new legislation aimed at preventing bad experiences like the one experienced by Ortiz and her pet.
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.