This year in New York, a legislator for Suffolk County has proposed a new law that would affect pet groomers who operate inside the county’s boundaries, whether they are a brick & mortar store, mobile business, or in-home business.
The proposed law—called Ginger’s Law—is named for a pomeranian who passed away in the last few years after falling ill during a grooming appointment. The alleged cause was a flea shampoo used by the groomer.
Ginger’s law, if it passes on May 2nd, would place a variety of restrictions on groomers. Most of these, however, follow common sense practices that would serve to protect the pet’s in your care. For example:
- Adherence to the industry standards & protocols released by the Professional Pet Groomers & Stylists Alliance (PPGSA), a national grooming association, in September 2015; these would include things like:
- Access to fresh water during grooming
- Constant supervision while on the grooming table or in the bathing tub
- Non-slip flooring & table surfaces
- Sufficient ventilation & climate control
- All pesticides that are used in products will need to be approved by the New York State DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation)
- 2 year registration for businesses
If the law passes when it is voted on on Monday, it would go into effect starting January 1, 2017, and would carry penalties for groomers who don’t adhere to it. Some of these penalties would include fines ranging from $500 – $1000 and revoking or denial of registration. Additionally, those who operate without registration could be charged with a misdemeanor, which would, in turn, lead to more fines and/or imprisonment.
I Don’t Operate in Suffolk County—How Would This Affect Me?
While the law would only apply to those who work in Suffolk County, New York, the long-term consequences could exist for groomers in other parts of the state and, eventually, the country.
Laws tend to have cascading and ripple effects. If it is passed in one location, you start to see similar laws proposed, and potentially passed, in other areas.
If Ginger’s Law passes, groomers throughout the United States will want to keep their ear open in their areas. Besides, it would be a good idea—regardless of legal requirements—for groomers to make sure that they are already adhering to the standards released by the PPGSA.
In addition to adopting these standards, if pet groomers really want to follow best practices, they should consider buying pet grooming insurance.
Though this is not one of the requirements of Ginger’s Law, it was one of the concerns brought up by Ginger’s owner that became the impetus for the law. Laura Hughes, the owner, was quoted this year in the Long Island Advance as saying, “‘We reached out to the groomer and there was no insurance policy to put a claim in…Turns out they don’t need to carry insurance.'”
While insurance wouldn’t have prevented Ginger’s illness, or her demise from complications a few years later, it could have provided security and trust in an already stressful situation, for both the groomer and Ginger’s owner.