Groomer Nightmares

Nightmare Grooming Services – How Safe Is Your Pet?

Nightmare Grooming Services – How Safe Is Your Pet?

Powerful and influential groups are lobbying in many state capitals for licensing of dog groomers. If they are successful, it will no longer be possible for individuals to learn grooming from a book and then open up a business. They would first be required to pass a written test administered by the state.

There has been considerable dissatisfaction and uneasiness within the ranks of professional dog groomers for the past few years. This is due in part to the growing number of self-styled groomers – those who read a few books and declare themselves qualified.

There also appears to be a growing number of “grooming schools”. Established professional groomers are unanimous in their assertion that many grooming schools are not adequately staffed, nor do they provide adequate curriculum to turn out fully qualified, competent, dog groomers.

In too many cases, it is alleged that these schools are not state-approved and in business solely to make money from unsuspecting students.

Representatives of grooming schools counter with the claim of “professional jealousy”, and add that established groomers are finally feeling the pinch of competition, and that eventually such competition will force grooming prices down.

This is due to the cut-rate fees charged from grooming at schools. The work is done by students, and the prices are not in competition with the professional. In any case, where factions square off at each other, someone need only to shake a few trees and all sorts of interesting things begin to fall out for public scrutiny.

Garage Groomers

Another faction infiltrating the industry are the “garage groomers”. These are people who cannot afford to pay rent on a grooming parlor. They set up business in their home as a hobby, charging but a fraction of what their professional counterparts would charge, and are not trained in the proper handling of an animal with emphasis on the welfare of the pet.

Without the need to pay employees, rent utilities – and in many cases, the Internal Revenue Service – the garage groomer can cut his prices considerably.

Regardless of what motivates the various factions to make the accusations they do, one fact has surfaced which warrants the attention of the public: There are many unscrupulous, unqualified; inept and incompetent dog groomers in this country. The real issue, it seems, is dog abuse through ignorance and lack of proper training.

According to legal resources, there is no recourse for the dog owner – or law enforcement agencies – in cases of animal abuse or injury caused by drunkenness or ignorance of a self-appointed groomer. If licensing procedures were enacted, there would be.

Nightmare Grooming Services – How Safe Is Your Pet?

Have you considered having your dog groomed by an unlicensed groomer, perhaps one that is considerably cheaper than a professional? If so, there are some important things you should be aware of.

For starters, at present, any animal left with a groomer is unprotected by law, and no requirement exists that the particular groomer has to be qualified and proficient in the art of dog grooming. Laws requiring dog groomers to pass state board tests, or to otherwise prove their capabilities, simply do not exist.

Grooming schools that allow students (whom are not yet licensed) to perform on your pets are not required to give the student a sufficient number of hours to assure the graduate will be capable of safely handling an animal. A novice simply should not be permitted to groom animals for money without sufficient training to avoid the many accidents reported daily.

Grooming Horror Stories

In doing some serious behind-the-scenes research, we have learned of the many horror stories which otherwise would not have surfaced. It has been reported throughout many cities that teats have been cut off accidentally, and dogs are suffocated daily in unsafe homemade dryers – as examples of the injuries occurring at the hands of untrained persons dealing in grooming services.

A woman from California who experienced a terrible accident when she brought her Poodle to a backyard groomer stated “It’s getting to the point now where licensing is a must, as protection for the legitimate groomer, the animal, and the owner.”

Reports of dog groomers who are sadistic, as well as dishonest, have been reported to the authorities in many areas across the nation. One report alleges cruelties such as smashing dogs’ heads to the floor from the grooming table. These types of reports, although hard to believe actually happen, were investigated and found to be true.

The animal cannot fend for itself and there must be guidelines set up to protect everyone dealing in and needing grooming services. The public is under the impression that “professional dog groomers” are already licensed.

There are no health standards governing backyard grooming shops, and many with public locations are not legally licensed or respecting any particular health codes.

In many of these places you will find everything from cockroaches to mange. Proper methods of disinfecting the premises, general rules of safety in handling animals, and proper crating procedures, are totally ignored – or are foreign – to many so-called groomers who have simply purchased a business license and became self-styled dog groomers.

The garage groomers have no problems of proper hygiene, because, due to the lack of licensing procedures, they have no license to be revoked. All the garage groomer has to do is close up and move to another location when he becomes unpopular in one neighborhood.

Nightmare Grooming Services – How Safe Is Your Pet?

Cruelty among unlicensed “backyard groomers” has been a growing series of unfortunate events in both small and large towns across the country.

With cheap services that are far lower priced than professional groomers, it’s easy for many dog owners to see the benefit of saving money over the possibility that the groomer might not know what he or she is doing.

Fortunately, there is an organization that works hard to protect the sanctity of professional animal groomers across the nation. They are the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA).

With tens of thousands of members running strong, the NDGAA has been responsible for introducing legislation around the country to bring more responsibility and legal protection for dog owners and the garage groomers that do business today.

Unfortunately, it has not been an easy task to convince lawmakers to hold the same standards to the dog grooming business as they do for human barber shops and stylists. Beauty operators and barbers are licensed and must adhere to various controls to protect the consumer.

Licensing of dog groomers appears to be just over the horizon. While nobody likes federal and state governments to step in and control private industry, the present state of the grooming industry is such that steps must be taken to protect the consumer, as well as the unsuspecting animal. At present, any person has the right to call him or herself a groomer.

A Recent Shocking Survey

Last year a small group of individuals who support laws to come down hard on dangerous grooming practices and unlicensed shops took it upon themselves to interview 85 establish groomers in as many grooming shops as 5 large cities.

It was bewildering to discover only one shop conducting grooming in full view of customers and other patrons. This led to the shaking of a few more insights, and a desire to know why grooming is normally done behind close doors.

The answer, it seems, is that the dog owner “wouldn’t understand” why a groomer was doing a particular thing or treating an animal in a particular way. It seems that many animals left for grooming are in such a terrified state of mind that they have to be tranquilized.

In some cases, some animals are anesthetized before any grooming can take place. One groomer explained:

“Most animals left to be groomed are spoiled rotten, and you can’t do a thing with them unless they get their bottom spanked. Sometimes, we have to tie their mouths shut, but the general public just wouldn’t understand this.”

These groomers may have a point here about having a hard time keeping dogs calm during the process, but the underlying justification to abuse animals in order to get the job done is not enough to warrant such practices.

Nightmare Grooming Services – How Safe Is Your Pet?

How would it feel knowing you took your dog to a local groomer, sat in the waiting area outside of the view of the groomer, and then found out that in order to get the job done the person tied your dog’s mouth up, smacked its bottom, and did other things to “restrain” the pup so that the groomer could finish the job?

This type of approach is being used every day in dog grooming parlors around the country. When asked about such practices most give the same reply: That these are the necessary tactics to getting the dog trimmed and groomed.

Sandra Booth, A Professional Groomer For More Than 20  Years, Doesn’t Agree:

“All of our grooming is done in plain view so that anyone can watch their pet being groomed. All I ask is that the owner pretend to leave the shop so the dog won’t be looking around for that owner. Once the animal is convinced that the owner has departed, that owner is perfectly free to watch the entire grooming process of their pet.”

Some shops invite first-time customers into the grooming room for a behind-the-scenes peek, which usually delights the dog owner. However, customers are not encouraged to view their dog duringthe grooming process.

The pet is anticipating going home, and when the groomer is working on the dog using sharp shears, the chance of an accidental cutting is great when a dog goes into an alert at their owner’s presence.

The shop operated by Sandra Booth is located in a quiet suburb of a large Southern California city. It was immaculately clean with the smell of disinfectant in the air even though an interview was unannounced.

“Do you see any dog mouths shut?” asked Mrs. Booth. “Do you see any of my employees giving tranquilizers? Any dogs being spanked, hit, beaten, or mistreated? There’s absolutely no reason for dog grooming to be done behind closed doors, unless the groomer has something to hide”

Sandra goes on to say, “If a groomer knows his or her business, enjoys the work, likes animals, and keeps their welfare uppermost, then there is no reason to hide anything. If a groomer’s work can’t stand the light of day, and has to be kept hidden, then there is something wrong”.

When she was asked her feelings about the possibility of getting license after all of these years being in the business, “I’m all for it,” she replied. “It’s about time. There’s been too much quackery in the grooming business, with incompetent, self-proclaimed groomers not only hurting the reputation of reputable groomers, but hurting dogs as well.”

Nightmare Grooming Services – How Safe Is Your Pet?

Many reputable groomers across the country welcome the possibility of being required to get a license to continue their grooming businesses. Of course for every one reputable groomer, there are probably hundreds that run their business in an undesired manner, resulting in abuse and mistreatment of the animals left in their hands.

Many people feel that federal licensing is near at hand.  Legislation of certain controls has already filtered into the pet shop industry, cutting many pet shops’ business in half.  Controls on importing exotic birds, exotic animals, domestic animals, turtles, and even some tropical fish, have hurt many pet shops financially.

A lot of pet shops have taken up grooming to make up for the loss even though they are not qualified dog groomers. If legislation can control pet shops, legislation can – and will – control the grooming industry.

In many ways, it’s too bad, but in the long run it will do the industry good.  It will help rid our industry of the many quacks and incompetents – and will make the grooming shops a safer, cleaner place for our pets.

Licensing will give the consumer a lever in which to demand fair and humane treatment of animals left in the care of groomers. It will help to ensure proper and sanitary conditions for the helpless creatures left in the care of dog groomers, without the worry of the animals contacting mange, kennel cough, distemper, or worse – getting beaten and cut by the  unprofessional practices of some individuals.

As a guideline for the pet owner – and until licensing does come – the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) suggests that the pet owner look for the “code of ethics” logo displayed by participating grooming establishments, or a Better Business Bureau logo.

With state licensing requirements, we can put an end to the fakes and sadists that have hung out their grooming standards. Sure, there is money in grooming, but there’s money in the medical and veterinary field too. A person doesn’t sit down and watch one episode of a home cooking show and then open up a restaurant.

Licensing will come, but not a day too soon. Until it does, we’ll have to wonder what kind of groomer we’ve left our pet with.  It makes me wonder just what our pets would say if they could tell us what’s going on behind closed doors.

Hi there! I’m a bike messenger by day, aspiring actor by night, and this is my website. I live in Los Angeles, have a great dog named Jack, and I like piña coladas. (And gettin’ caught in the rain.)

…or something like this:

The information shared on this site is for information only. It does not take the place of professional advice from your pet’s healthcare provider.

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