Friday, April 20, 2012

SB 969 - Establishes a council to regulate grooming

California State Senate
Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development
State Capital, room 2053
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: 916-324-0917
April 20, 2012
Re: CA SB 969 (Vargas). Pet Grooming. (As amended 4-18-2012): OPPOSE
Request to be listed as official opposition
Dear Senators,
The California Federation of Dog Clubs, founded in 1990, represents thousands of dog owners across our state. We are advocates for animal welfare and for protecting the rights of responsible dog owners. The CFoDC conducts breed identification workshops for shelter workers, distributes a dog care and training brochure for new owners who adopt from shelters, and provides a 1-800 help line for pet owners struggling with behavior or training problems. We also maintain and administer a relief fund for animals affected by disasters such as earthquakes or fires. CFoDC supports animal legislation which positively benefits society.
The CFoDC is OPPOSED to SB 969. This bill would further strain the state's budget for a program regulating the bathing and brushing of pets. A costly new council will be created to oversee another bureaucratic agency. Groomers must complete 1300 combined hours of instruction and hand-on experience before they will be allowed the privilege of paying for a biennial certification, in order to bathe and brush pets. All grooming schools must be approved by this new board. An examination process must also be instituted, to include written exams as well as demonstrations. This is unnecessary and presumes that certification for grooming of animals should be on a par with provision of cosmetology services to humans. Costs for the taxpayers and for grooming customers will necessarily skyrocket in order to pay for the administration of this new certification program.
The proposed council would be composed primarily of individuals who know nothing about professional grooming practices. Only two of the members would be familiar with grooming. The council would prominently include animal rights proponents and animal rights activist lawyers (who are anti-animal ownership in general). All grooming programs and the certification examinations must be approved by the council, a group overwhelmingly unfamiliar with established grooming practices.
This bill would adversely affect dog show handlers, groomers and junior handlers under the age of 18, all of whom groom for financial compensation. AKC administers a nationwide Registered Professional Handlers program, which is voluntary. Professional handlers certainly should not need to also apply for state certification in order to claim they are professionally qualified to groom dogs, and indeed, AKC's RPH program itself is a voluntary program. Professional handlers who travel into California from other states may find themselves in a legal quandary under the terms of SB 969.
Grooming establishments already must comply with requirements for business licenses and are subject to consumer regulation by word of mouth. If groomers do a poor job, they go out of business. Our state can ill-afford a new program that provides no benefits to the citizens of the state beyond the functions of local Better Business Bureaus.
Incidentally, the exact type of pet covered by this bill is not specified; it could be any sort of pet from a hamster to a horse.
Please reject SB 969 so that the state's resources can instead be utilized for programs of genuine importance to our taxpayers and citizens.
Sincerely yours,
Geneva Coats, R.N.
California Federation of Dog Clubs
CC: Curren Price, Bill Emmerson, Ellen Corbett, Lou Correa, Ed Hernandez, Gloria Negrete McLeod, Tony Strickland, Juan Vargas, Mark Wyland

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