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Why Aren't Pet Groomers Licensed?

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  • Why Aren't Pet Groomers Licensed?

    (This is from Sacramento, CA. The state capital, just where such legislation would be passed or failed. Hmm. This will get some notice of legislators in town. This was televised too. But usually when there is a "war" going on and economic castrophes, it is considered nonessential, and CA is looking at a CALAMITY financially. I read last week over a million upscale households have had it and moved out of CA because of cost of living etc, and with up to 40% drop in housing values, tax collection is going way down, something like $16 billion short is the estimate...big doubt if they are going to see CA licensing as a pressing issue. But having lived there before in major swings, they survive and we did fine in grooming those years. Stephen)

    Tony Lopez SACRAMENTO (CBS13) ― We all know how some people treat their pets.

    "A lot of people think of their pets as their kids," says Sandy Stern.

    She would know. She's been running a Roseville pet supply and grooming business for almost two decades. She has seen her fair share of animals, and has gone through her fair share of groomers.

    In her expert -- albeit biased -- opinion, she has the best of the best working for her. But while they groom and shape the perfect face, we need to face a not-so-perfect picture: The people who we trust to make our pets look and feel good are not licensed in the state of California.

    That means anyone can grab a pair of scissors and brush and call themselves a pet groomer.

    Erica Strauss, a cat owner, has a horror story to tell. "She just had nicks all over her."

    Erica did not take her 10-year old Himalayan cat, Sushi, to Sandy's Roseville pet grooming shop, but she wishes she had.

    She knew something was fishy when Sushi started acting strange as soon as she picked him up from the pet groomer, the Campus Commons Pet Salon in Fair Oaks.

    "She was screaming, meowing really loud," Erica says. "We could tell from the way it was cut around her neck that it was a bad haircut."

    It was more than a bad haircut. She has pictures to prove that Sushi had a large gash on her back, razor burns on her skin, and one of Sushi's nipples had been severed.

    "Like it was nicked off." Erica had to get answers. With Sushi's vet bills mounting, Erica couldn't get a groomer to pay for the damage. Feeling as helpless as a cat up a tree, she was shocked to learn that pet groomers are not licensed in this state.

    "I could not find anything on where I could report this too," Erica says.

    Some California lawmakers tried to get pet groomers regulated back in 2005, but the effort failed, with some citing that it would be too costly to regulate the thousands of pet groomers.

    Sandy wishes it had passed, and she hopes all pet owners get more knowledge on who they're leaving their pets with. Knowledge in this case is not only power, but protection.

    What are some of the red flags to look out for in a pet groomer? "If you can't see the grooming at all, don't even go there," Sandy says.

    And don't hesitate to visit the groomer before bringing your pet along. It could be the difference between the perfect cuts and the one that cuts way too deep.

    I spoke with the owner of the pet salon where Sushi was groomed. She admits there were problems but says the cut on the cat's back was already there. She tells us the groomer who worked on Sushi no longer works there.
    Most questions regarding GroomerTALK are answered in the Board Help Talk Forum. Thanks for coming to our community a part of

  • #2
    Originally posted by Admin View Post
    What are some of the red flags to look out for in a pet groomer? "If you can't see the grooming at all, don't even go there," Sandy says.
    That will certainly insure you get a good groomer. (sorry you can't hear the sarcasm)

    While I support licensing, I don't think there are any set rules that can ensure you find a good groomer. There are three groomers at my vet clinic and all three of us would do an excellent job. No you can't see the grooming room from the front. You can certainly come back and visit us and the grooming room would not impress you at all. But you won't find a better groomer for cats and poodles (the other two groomers, not me).

    So how do people find good groomers? I personally think asking friends or neighbors who grooms their dogs would probably be the best way.
    "The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog." -Ambrose Bierce


    • #3
      Originally posted by Admin View Post
      What are some of the red flags to look out for in a pet groomer? "If you can't see the grooming at all, don't even go there," Sandy says.
      Didn't we just read on these boards, someone at a salon (where you can SEE through to the grooming area), tied a dog on the floor next to the grooming table and then a dog got a way and attacked it.

      SO I have to agree with Keyray. And that groomer who cut the cat could have been seen through a window and still cut the cat. That is not an "abusive" groomer, that is a groomer who needs some more training! Maybe Licensing WOULD have helped with that, but the windows, definitely no benefit at all.

      Tammy in Utah
      Groomers Helper Affiliate


      • #4
        not too long ago a groomer here in town poked out a dogs eye. It swept through town rather quickly via the newspaper, the owner had written a letter to the editor. In response to that I had numerous clients asking me if I knew who it was. Well, I didn't, but it prompted me to write a letter to the editor to advise owners on what to look for when choosing a groomer. It was printed also. I told them to call or stop by the grooming salon. Look around, ask questions..if the groomer seemed uninterested thats a good clue. If she's too busy to talk to you on the phone, that's another good clue. Check for memberships to certain organizations. Now, not that it means they are a good groomer or even a reputable one, but at least they are involved in some form! others are not at all! I told them to go in the am's when it's the busiest. See how it's operating. There are so many things to look for other than the price of a groom. I stated that also. Most only Inquire of the price, which is sad. If you were looking for a daycare for your child, would that be your first question or would you inspect the facility? same thing with your best friend. I got lots of calls for appointments after that print but that was not the intention. It sure raised some eyebrows though! imagine that! lol
        Last edited by hairdevil; 03-01-08, 07:27 PM. Reason: typo


        • #5
          The groomer who cut the cat could be the best groomer in the world and either had an off-day, or maybe the cat zigged when the groomer zagged. It appears that his/her real mistake was not being up front with the owner about the injuries and then not paying for vet treatment. It's also possible that the "gash" on the back was caused by the owner trying to demat the cat and she didn't even know she did so until the groomer shaved the cat, exposing the cut. And accidental nipplectomies (Kitty mastectomies) happen to the best of us.

          Licensing will NOT stop all accidents/injuries from occuring. Even if the licensing examination required a big safety aspect, knowledge does NOT mean that every protocol will be followed every single minute of every single day. We're human beings (imperfect) working on other imperfect living beings. Accidents and injuries (and even fatalities) can happen to ANY one of us despite being highly skilled, loving animals, and taking every possible precaution. Every time I hear one of these over-hyped anti-groomer "News" stories, I think "For the Grace of God, that could just as easily be me." I refuse to jump on the bandwagon attacking any of my cohorts until I know all the facts. And I know the media is about as biased as can be!


          • #6
            I've never heard anyone in any licensed field say that licensing would prevent accidents or ensure a great style? No one ever made that claim, so why is it used to not favor licensing.

            Now red tape is a valid groan.

            It is the duty of government, or the body of professionals working with the government, to set minimum standards of education for a profession if it can HELP protect consumers 10%, 20% as little as that.

            Now I am one for our doing our own system, and regardless of which way, I could turn it easily into justifying better fees, lower prices for some goods we need to use to some degree, and super polishing the image of what would be my business. That's how my family did it, they wrote legislation that didn't pass, but they and others we knew followed the legislation as if not passed, and look what happened. Terrific businesses lasting 40 nearly 50 years, incomparable businesses, and some that held records for selling prices that put groomers into comfortable retirements.

            What I could do with that level of recognition today.

            Arguing over claims not made hides the benefits, but yes, we should organize and run it ourselves. In the next 5 years a few thousand no education at all businesses are going to open up and that simply isn't fair to pet owners as a body. For many it may be there first pets and they will have to learn the hard way. I am not going to play the judge of people, so many do that today, everybody judging everybody by so many useless measures, so we can throw it off, too bad pet owner, you should have done your research.

            That is certainly a sign of someone perhaps very skilled, but who hasn't grown into what professional recognition means, and caring for the community they serve. No wonder we never advertised except the yellow pages and people were lined up every morning truly at 6am 7 days a week. We never planned to have a large business, I clearly remember that, but they came in droves by our reputation for service done by true pros for people and pets. What you give out comes back.
            Most questions regarding GroomerTALK are answered in the Board Help Talk Forum. Thanks for coming to our community a part of


            • #7
              (Edited: Stop name calling bashing some pet owners, animal right organizations and others. This was destructive not constructive criticism.)

              EVERY one of these so-called "News" stories about either sad accidents or the occasional genuine abuse case in grooming salons talk about how "groomers in (fill in the state) are not required to have any licensing." So, yes, the accidents ARE being used to argue in favor of licensing.


              • #8

                Note I said the word justify, justifies better fees. Some have contacted me to say our organizing doesn't "guarantee" better prices. Did I say that?

                In fact, most naysyers against any form of organization say it doesn't guarantee this accidents won't happen, doesn't guarantee this and that.

                It quite a political twist of words, choose your party and write for them, you're good, but the argument doesn't hold up.

                For example prices. You don't think I don't know there are low price haircut chains? So they are an argument against licensing justifying prices. That could only be if the licensing in this case was written for that, and that isn't true.

                Justifying. Well, what is difference between the owners of businesses that charge, for the same pet, $25, $35 or $45? I get even wider ranges than that in thousands of surveys here.

                Why do the cheap cuts places have slow times and busy times, yet the higher end (relative to your market profile) are booked weeks in advance?

                I know this for a fact as a client-friend of mine a few years before I moved charged $90 and was always booked weeks in advance, you had to be standing appointment or accept when available a new hire. Down the street the $40 to $50 range was busy weekends and sort of busy here and there during the week. In fact on occasion I had to patronize them because I was the overflow turned away from the higher end salons.

                I find that a good percentage of mobile groomers better understand justifying fees than shop groomers, and for clarity, I didn't say every mobile groomer.

                My main reason for the $90 cut was the work was SUPERB. It grew out beautifully, the cut lasted longer actually (and this is a stickler with me because a lot of groomers send home pets that should have been thoroughly stretch dried but weren't, and it may look pretty in the moment but it grows out unevenly...I never hear this discussed but my stepfather was one of the greatest finish groomers I ever knew, he could have been a world champion, and he knew the basis of the best styles was proper bathing and drying, and he made you a champion bather indeed, and look, we were a high quantity business...there goes the quantity vs quality argument too).

                Some of the public wants a cheap cut, some of the public wants good and some want the better or best. Every average community has pet owners in these profiles, every state.

                Of course with organization there will always be these 3 levels because those are OUR PATRONS. OUR ORGANIZATION doesn't change OUR PATRONS. But it gives a basis for some relative safety, and it indeed can be used to justify the higher end. Study what the word means.

                Remember you are entirely in control of who you will market to. Everything in the appearance of what you wear at work, what your work space looks like, smells like, sounds like with harsh pounding music or soft music, justifies better fees or low end fees, customer service or a harried groomer HAVING to do customer service when they really need to get a pet done in 12 minutes because the owner is on the way to pick. And of course just how far you have taken your grooming skills.

                Your credentials, your environment, your appearance, your TIME for the clientele, your extra service and convenience all identify you, and here's how you, not organization, guarantee YOU the prices you want, and booked well in advance.

                The higher end businesses know all about justifying their fees whether a tiny salon or a big one, and how mandatory education and CONTINUING EDUCATION is an integral part - lots of continuing education especially in your first 5 years in your career.

                No matter what is passed or not, you have the power today to move on your way to justifying the respect and fees you desire.

                But I must say, how many of you know a person that has stepped in the doors of more than 2,500 grooming businesses? Anyone? I have as a consultant, and I study everyone of them out of interest. I don't let my 48 years around groomers get in the way, I can pretend I am new customer. I must say, I really do enjoy groomers but there are many problems with their businesses, appearance and I know they are overworking themselves. More than half are really putting out very average work, even though they are overworked. I have enjoyed helping many to "fall in love again" with their businesses because outsiders can see more clearly. They stopped getting education after school or their apprenticeships for the most part (and remember many of you active in this board are DIFFERENT! You are a light in many ways, it's great to see. And for a few others it's a place to vent, you need to regroup, review and and lay a new path...we all do that...and become a little older and wiser.).

                Most everyone I visited clearly has lost the power to justify more help from their employers or employees, justify better fees, justify better working conditions and to manage the power they already have today. Some feel powerless indeed.

                Mandatory education is at the heart of organization, and what you do thereafter is YOUR POWER and always will be. Do you think POWER means we all turn in Alexis of Dynasty. Many do. No, there is a lot of peace and great customer service when power is directed that sets you into the high end grooming world. It isn't about bad attitudes and being mad at the world for not making what you are worth, and isn't that a common one? Plus your bodies are tired, you don't have to overwork, but you may have to adapt to a system of management.

                We are not hairstylists for people, we don't have to organize like them. Already we have chains and are they super price cutters? Nope. We are not going to be like that industry, why are we always comparing ourselves to them then and what they experienced? If you take your power back that won't happen.

                We could design educational systems including grooming, career management, and even required business training in varying degrees. We could show hairstyling how it should be done.
                Most questions regarding GroomerTALK are answered in the Board Help Talk Forum. Thanks for coming to our community a part of


                • #9
                  Pet Animals

                  The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association officially endorsed early age spaying and neutering in 1993. Spay USA reports that the lowest rate of surgical complications is in kittens younger than 12 weeks and puppies younger than 16 weeks. Numerous scientific studies have disproved the belief that early altering would lead to urinary or other health problems.



                  interactive marketing


                  • #10
                    I don’t honestly know why we are not licensed. It would do a lot to legitimize the business to neigh sayers to.


                    • #11

                      We are not licensed because the dogs can't talk and complain like people. I truly believe we should be licensed because what we do is no different than a beautician does. They have to be licensed and go back for more training every year and I think we need that too.

                      To stay up with the techniques and new products I feel as pet lovers we should try to do the best job we can with the best equipment we can afford. Just because the pets can't tell how they were treated or mistreated is no excuse.

                      But as with politics it is who ever can pull the most votes at election time so if it does not benefit them they do not want to straddle the fence.

                      As a pet owner knowing who is a good groomer and unless they have worked in the trade they don't. I have seen groomer cut the hair down short enough the owner could not see it to keep from taking the time to pull it out.

                      As a pet owner myself I asked lots of questions before I leave my beloved pet with them. If they want me to bring them early and keep them all day, my dog did not stay. If they would not let me look around their business I felt they had something to hide and I was out of there. That is the main reason beside, needing to make a living, I became a groomer myself.


                      • #12
                        I think it is such an important thing for this career. It adds to the professionalism and reputation too. And no it does promise good groomers but it might help weed out some of the bad ones. As for a window, If and when I own my own shop, I would consider having a window so owners could see, BUT it would be a one way thing so the pets couldn't see the people and get distracted. That's the real down side to having a window, the pets get distracted with what is going on on the other side and move around even more. That can be dangerous.


                        • #13

                          I'm just going to put my two cents about this and if people get upset well not everyone is going to see eye to eye. I don't think this is a great idea! We will open the door to more taxes and fees just look at hair salons and if you read carefully they talk about test fees, lic fees, fess for this or that, we are giving them more control!
                          The grooming field as a whole has always been a home grow profession and past down from mothers to daughters or other family memebers. I also think that it has a natural way of weeding out bad groomers and salons, I see them fail each year I can open up a phone book and by August half of the new Mobiles or shops have closed because they didn't cut it. Why open our selves up to "BIG Government" Why do we want there hand in it more?????? Already they take our money at the end of each year and we pay the counties for occupational lic and insurances.
                          I understand we want humaine groomers but just because I can pass a test doesn't make me a "nice safe professional humane groomer". This makes me nuts.


                          • #14
                            If you think the governments WANTS to do this, they don't. They would have long ago.

                            Consumers call me all the time, or email me, every week. OMG so tiring. A groomer did this, a groomer did that, how come there is nothing I can do about it? That's what they say to me.

                            In the USA the government is looked to PROTECT consumers. Well the government doesn't reinvent the wheel and say one thing, imperfect as it is, is professional licensing, vocational licensing. They don't have ANYTHING else but to fall back on what is being done with other trades, so that's what they will do and they would like to get back to other business because they really don't want to spend a lot of time on this but know they are obligated to RESPOND to consumers.

                            Well, grooming has NEVER responded with an alternative solution.

                            It is 100% groomers as an INDUSTRY that is at fault. This is not opinion, my parents worked with CA legislators and even a Kennedy on this back in the 60's and explained the above, and all my experience with legislators since then back this.

                            The government doesn't want to be bothered but must, but they won't invent something new, and look to vocational licensing because it has been done for a few dozen other professions. That's it.

                            OMG, but look at the threads here about Craigslist, and groomers bashing groomers, look at groomers hiding behind member names here that we have to moderate, even vendors hurting "competition" vendors...well if we are that "backward" (as a whole, unlike the many wonderful people and vendors associated with this board and site) still, how will we ever get together and offer some consumer protection, at least take charge and at least write the legislation if it must be, but no, let's argue, let's slam one another, let's criticize other's styles, let's not even talk between groomers in our same towns at least decently, let's flag each other on Craiglist, and as you see it comes back to bite us.

                            Sad state of affairs. Point blank. Blaming the government is simply an oversight of the true problem because if there were not tragic accidents happening, in the media, the government wouldn't be doing anything. I see a lot of hope in our majority of members here, you really are, but there are tens of thousands keeping our industry split apart with poor behavior and if you are not unified, you get ruled by the government because you cannot rule yourselves. In many other currently licensed professions the same thing happened, consumers cried out, and they got ruled, now it is happening to us in our state of separation and disrespect of one another. The government would love a spokesperson with some popular support to come forward...I know...I've talked to several Assemblymen in CA, and DC Senators before...but no one from our industry is approaching them with an alternative solution. Dozens of people have worked hard in the past but they just couldn't get enough support from groomers, let alone a dime to fund a body to work on here we go again facing poor legislation written by non-grooming people.

                            How many hours a week, a month or a year does each groomer spend resolving this problem? Yet voters are calling the government asking them what they are gonna due, and our response is, "It won't help." You cannot say that to a legislator if you understand how the USA is run. Legislators WILL LISTEN to us for solutions, but no one is giving it to them. They won't stand for that lack of respect from an industry forever. Legislators cannot do nothing, look at history, that is not open to opinion, even if it doesn't work they know they have to do something. OMG they would love a solution handed to them by organized professional industry representatives to get the voters off their backs.
                            Last edited by Stephen; 06-01-09, 04:02 PM.


                            • #15
                              We need less gov

                              Don't we pay enough in taxes already?! Do you really think by being licensed it's going to change anything? People are charged w/ abuse of animals & children & it doesn'' stop them. Child Services is out of Control. Next we're gonna need a license to be a Parent. REALLY NOW! Don't get me started on those people.
                              I was watching a woman @ PET**** groom a dog. The poor dog was not cooperating & you could clearly see how frustrated she was getting. The groomer saw us watching her. The minute we looked away, she took the dog to the back room (I've heard rumors about the back room). What do you think was going back there? Happy times?!
                              That's not gonna stop! Cosmetologists are licensed & I still get a bad haircuts & die jobs, but all the government cares about is getting their money.
                              What the government needs to concentrate is puppy mills & abuse, Leave us alone.
                              Get smart people. Do you really want to pay more taxes, because that's what it's gonna mean, plus more government control. Don't you remember what this country was built on...
                              FREEDOM, pursuit of HAPPINESS,etc etc. Just do your stuff & stay out of everybody elses stuff. Yeah, I have lots of clients coming to me w/ traumatized pets too, but ya know, I'm not bashing the competition. It could've been an accident, not to mention clients can be too protective & not know the whole story.
                              The Government is out of control! (or soon will be if we keep allowing it)
                              My clients don't care that I'm not licensed!