You can groom your own pooch, but putting a brush to someone else’s (and charging for it) could be tricky if the West Hollywood City Council passes an ordinance proposed by Councilmember Lauren Meister.
Meister is asking the city to require that “groomers and anyone involved in the bathing or styling of animals” be certified from an accredited animal grooming program. The city also would regulate the sort of leashes that groomers can use to keep Spot on the table. And the bathing and styling areas of grooming spots would have to have video cameras.
“Only breakaway groomer’s leashes may be used at bathing stations and styling stations,” Meister’s proposal says. “Standard groomer’s leashes (such as ‘nooses’ or ‘loops’) do not have a way for the animal to be automatically released in case the animal should jump or fall from the groomer’s table or bathing tub.”
Currently, the City of West Hollywood has three pages of regulations governing dog grooming establishments, but not groomers. Those regulations stipulate everything from how close a groomer must stand to a pet while grooming or bathing it to how frequently water dishes must be cleaned and sanitized.
The State of California doesn’t require that groomers be certified or licensed, although state Sen. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) brought forth a bill proposing that in 2012. That bill, known as “Lucy’s Law” after a Yorkshire terrier mix injured by a groomer, would have required groomers to obtain a license that would cost $350. Those violating the proposed law would face fines of $500 to $2,000 and could be imprisoned for 30 days to up to one year.
Vargas’ bill failed, with opponents arguing that groomers should be allowed to decide for themselves whether they wanted to obtain accreditation from organizations such as National Dog Groomers Association of America, National Cat Groomers Institute of America, International Professional Groomers and International Society of Canine Cosmetologists, all of which have their own testing and other certification requirements.
Grooming certification can be expensive. The International Professional Groomers Association offers certification in grooming various breeds and in handling animals safely and abiding by an ethics code for a fee of $705. The International Society of Canine Cosmetologists certifies groomers with written and practical exams at its events and major dog shows. Tests for sporting, non-sporting and terrier breeds are $50 to $125 each. However there are two final tests billed at $1,000 and $1,500 each. The National Dog Groomers Association charges fees of $125 for certification testing for each of three dog categories. To pass the written and practical certification tests, one must either have previous grooming experience or have attended a grooming school. Some online grooming schools charge from $4,000 to $6,000 for tuition and supplies.
“By initiating this item locally, the city will set a precedent for other jurisdictions and the state legislature to follow West Hollywood’s model,” says Meister’s proposal. “Ideally, a program to regulate animal grooming certification should be established on a statewide level.”
The City Council will consider the proposal at its meeting on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. Parking is free in the five-story structure behind the Council Chambers with a ticket validated at the meeting.