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Dead pets is reason enough to license pet groomers | Editorial

The death of a beloved dog or cat is a blow any pet lover understands.

Losing that animal companion one hour after you dropped it off for a routine grooming is incomprehensible.

But that’s what happened at least twice in eight days during the Christmas season just past, according to an investigation by NJ Advance Media – and both times the same chain store was involved.

“You expect to see your dog happy and healthy and groomed, and I got a dead dog,” says Daniele DiNapoli, who said Scruffles the 8-year-old bulldog was in good health when she left the dog at the PetSmart in Flemington over the holidays.

That was at 9:45 on an otherwise ordinary Friday morning. By 11 a.m. the dog was declared dead on arrival at the Flemington Veterinary Hospital.

DiNapoli’s subsequent post about her experience on Facebook, under the title Justice for Scruffles, attracted more than 16,000 shares and 10,000 likes.

12 tips to help avoid tragedy at the pet groomer

It turns out others had horror tales to relate. They included Tara Fiet, whose dog Ranger died two days after being groomed at the same Hunterdon County branch, and David Bolduc, whose shih tzu George was diagnosed with a debilitating back injury under similar circumstances.

The dog’s condition is only getting worse, Bolduc says.

You don’t have to be an animal-rights advocate to understand the field of pet grooming – that is, bathing, brushing, clipping or styling a pet for compensation – cries out for rigorous oversight.

We’re sure the vast majority of these service providers are ethical and compassionate. But without a licensing procedure in place, consumers have no way of knowing what to expect if they leave Abby the golden retriever or Eliza the Siamese kitten to have her nails clipped or her tresses tamed.

In 2014, a measure called Bijou’s Law, requiring groomers to pass an exam prepared by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners in order to be licensed, failed to gain traction in the state…

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