Because of the pandemic, more people than ever have become pet owners. And one family has an important lesson for them, after a traumatic experience at their groomer’s.
It was supposed to be a routine trip to the groomer for 10 year old Bichon Frise Charlie. But when Charlie’s owner, Ricio Esquibel, picked him up, she said Charlie wouldn’t stop crying.
Esquibel and her husband Tony Babylon are still unclear about what exactly happened. But during grooming at an LA salon, Charlie’s ear was torn apart, and, to their horror, glued back together.
“Basically he’d deskinned his ear, his complete ear,” said Babylon.
The groomer paid Charlie’s vet bill. But Esquibel and Babylon were shocked to learn they had little other recourse.
While the person who cuts our hair and trims our nails has to be licensed, those who do the same to our dogs - don’t.
It’s something that surprises many people, says Teri DiMarino, who’s been grooming dogs for nearly 50 years.
“Pet grooming is an unregulated industry,” said DiMarino.
DiMarino says legislation was introduced several years ago to regulate the industry. The idea was to license groomers and give the state power to revoke the licenses of negligent ones. But the proposed legislation fell through. So DiMarino helped start the California Pet Groomers Association, giving groomers safety and care guidelines to voluntarily follow.
“We want to be proactive with this,” said DiMarino. “Because we want to see people take care of their pets, and we want to see groomers do well and continue to educate themselves.”
Until the industry is regulated, which DiMarino thinks will eventually happen, she urges groomers to get certified through industry programs, like one through the American Kennel Club. While a certification doesn’t offer pet owners any recourse if something goes wrong, it can give them peace of mind knowing the groomer is keeping up with industry practices.
“That’s what owners really want, is accountability,” said DiMarino.
As for Charlie, he’s slowly healing, while Esquibel and Babylon figure out if they can trust another groomer.
“It’s insane to me that anybody can just go buy a pair of clippers and determine, ‘I’m a groomer,’” said Babylon
Experts say when choosing a groomer, as if they’re certified and how much experience they have. Also ask to see the area where your pet will be groomed.