Pet groomers, pet bathers and pet brushers would be certified under legislation approved May 30 by the state Senate.
This bill – SB 969 by Sen. Juan Vargas, a San Diego Democrat – would create a voluntary program administered by the California Pet Grooming Council, a tax-exempt nonprofit organization that would establish standards of education, examination, training and experience.
Pet groomers, pet brushers and pet bathers could only call themselves “certified” with an OK from the council. Otherwise they would be guilty of engaging in an unfair business practice.
Vargas told his Senate colleagues the measure originated with the travails of Lucy, a Yorkshire terrier mix, who “sustained multiple injuries during a routine trip to a pet groomer including a detached retina and lacerations to five of her eight nipples.
“Many of us look at our pets almost as family members,” Vargas said. “They’re very loyal, very wonderful animals. They’re not able to communicate to us what happens at the pet groomers. So, many times, they suffer in silence.”
Vargas said his bill “will ensure consumers have the option to take their pet to a groomer they can trust because they’ve met certain training requirements.” Opponents of the bill suggested the Legislature had more important matters to deal with.
“I regretfully have to rise against Lucy’s Law,” said Sen. Sam Blakeslee, a San Luis Obispo Republican. “I don’t think we need a certification process around pet grooming.”
The state Republican Party contrasted the vote in favor of Vargas’ bill – it was sent to the Assembly on a 22 to 14 vote – with the defeat of amendments offered May 29 by Senate GOP leader Bob Huff of Diamond Bar that would have made it easier to fire public school teachers for inappropriate behavior.
Vargas’ bill defines a pet groomer as “an individual who bathes, brushes, clips, or styles a pet for compensation.”
Among the 17 members of the council would be two members from Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals — one from Northern California, and one from Southern California – two members from the National Dog Groomers Association of America Inc., a member selected by the state Veterinary Board, another by the Department of Consumer Affairs, one hosen by the State Bar with “animal law experience” and one member chosen by the international Society of Canine Cosmetologists.
To secure a certification an applicant must be at least 18 years of age and complete a council-approved curriculum in pet grooming “totaling a minimum of 300 hours” and “1,000 hours of hands-on experience in pet grooming.”
The bill must be approved by the Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The Democratic governor has not taken a position on the measure.