Grooming incidents resulting in the injury or deaths of dogs have become popular in the news lately. That terrifying pattern is what is bringing many pet parents to call for regulations to be made by lawmakers to protect pets and their families from these tragedies. Dogs have been injured or killed by hot dryers, sharp grooming clippers, and even their own leashes when left unattended during the grooming process.
Grooming doesn’t require any type of licensing or certification in many regions, and the ones that do regulate the business have very few rules. The recent deaths of canines at a Petco store in Virginia and a small grooming salon in New Jersey have reignited the fight to create regulations governing the grooming practice. Currently, there is legislation pending in New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. A similar measure failed in California in 2012, but advocates are hoping to revive it.
The incident in Virginia involved a 2-year-old golden retriever who died while locked in a drying unit back in May. A veterinarian confirmed the cause of death as heatstroke, but the pet retailer claims the dryer did not use heat and only blew room temperature air.
In the second incident in New Jersey a 10-year-old Airedale terrier was injured while at the groomers and no one called for help. When the dog’s family arrived to pick him up he could barely walk and had to be euthanized. No details were released in this case, but the business owner is facing four counts of animal cruelty.
Mike Bober is the executive president of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, the pet trade’s regulatory association for manufacturers, producers, groomers, and retailers. He says that the group has worked with three national grooming associations to craft safety and sanitation standards that could be used as the foundation for state laws.
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These guidelines for the proper handling of tools, dryers, and even the animals themselves were finalized earlier this month and details will be announced at a pet retail trade show on July 21, 2015. Bober says that he feels the best approach would be to implement uniform standards that all states could use as a metric for groomer certification.
The pet industry will soon reveal its uniform grooming standards, but any enforcement would still be up to the states that pass licensing laws. The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council is hoping that state legislators will heed the industry’s warnings and pass laws to secure the safety of the canines involved in commercial grooming.