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Vargas’ Pet Grooming Bill Approved by Appropriations Committee

by Senator Juan Vargas, published


SACRAMENTO, CA (May 14, 2012) – State Senator Juan Vargas’ SB 969, “Lucy’s Law”, which would create a voluntary certification program for the pet grooming industry, was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee (5-2) this afternoon.  The bill, authored in an effort to prevent injuries and fatalities to pets resulting from visits to the pet groomer, now heads to the Senate Floor.

“Professionalizing the pet grooming industry is a necessary step toward ensuring that groomers are properly trained and pets are protected from harm,” said Senator Vargas (D-San Diego).  “Through this certification program, pet owners can be confident that their pets are in good hands.”

In July 2008, Teresa Gilland of Fair Oaks, California took her dog Sadie to Petco for her monthly grooming.  After some time in a drying cage, Sadie, a Lhasa Apso, was taken to a nearby VCA animal hospital due to the groomer finding blood in Sadie’s drying cage.  Sadie also suffered from severe respiratory distress, acute blindness, blood in her saliva, and was comatose when she arrived at the hospital.

“This was absolutely devastating to my family and me,” stated Teresa Gilland.  “And, I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.  Sadie was like a sister to my two daughters and was not only property to us, but was truly a part of our family.”

State Senator Juan Vargas  authored SB 969 after learning about Lucy, a small Yorkshire terrier mix, who sustained multiple injuries during a routine trip to the groomer.  Among these injuries were a detached retina, a severed ligament in her leg, and lacerations to five of her eight nipples.

Outside of Lucy’s case, there have been thousands of life-threatening injuries to pets over the years due to negligent and under-trained pet groomers who use improper techniques when grooming animals. Injuries from these negligent acts range from severe lacerations due to incorrect usage of grooming tools, toe injuries, broken bones caused by the animal being dropped, eye injuries, and in the most severe of cases, death.

About SB 969:

SB 969 would create the California Pet Grooming Council and would allow for voluntary certification of pet groomers and pet bathers and brushers.  SB 969 would establish the requirements necessary to obtain a certificate as a pet groomer or pet bather and brusher, and set forth the duties and obligations of a certified pet groomer or pet bather and brusher. The bill would set forth the duties of the council with regard to the regulation of pet groomers and pet bathers and brushers and would also set standards for discipline and authorize the council to impose administrative penalties for a violation of these provisions.

As a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, the California Pet Grooming Council would certify pet groomers and pet bathers and brushers who meet specified education, examination, training and experience requirements, and would make it an unfair business practice for anyone to call themselves a “certified pet groomer” or a “certified pet bather and brusher” unless they have been certified by the Council.

The Council would be composed of members from several organizations, including but not limited to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SCPA), the National Dog Groomers Association, the State Bar of California, the State Humane Society, the Veterinary Medical Board, and retail entities providing pet grooming services.

About Senator Juan Vargas:

Vargas represents the 40th California State Senate District which includes the southern portion of San Diego County, portions of Riverside County, all of Imperial County and California’s entire US/Mexico border.  Vargas represented the 79th California State Assembly District from 2000 – 2006 and served on the San Diego City Council from 1993 – 2000.

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