Is your pet safe at the groomer? - WNEM TV 5

I-Team Report

Is your pet safe at the groomer?

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Inside Messy Mutts you’ll find a pampered Lab-Shitzu mix named Lulu, leashes in all colors, shapes and sizes, bandanas to root on your pup’s favorite team, and two women who are self-titled “dog people.”

“I love what I do because I love the animals,” said co-owner Jody Kietzman. But she is quick to point out you won’t find any license to groom your beloved pet. “No there is not. Unfortunately, no. Anyone could open up a groom shop if they wanted to.”

As the I-Team discovered, Michigan doesn’t require any state oversight for pet grooming. That’s right, and no inspections either.

“I have a grooming certificate, and I have taken additional courses. Every other year I take continuing education courses on grooming and safety,” said Kietzman.

The question over who is taking care of your pet is intensifying. Like in Virginia where a golden retriever named Colby died while getting groomed at Petco. The family says he was left in a drying cage for too long. Petco has since removed that type of cage from all its store. Betty Hallsworth worked at that Petco and bathed Colby.

“Colby was a sweet, sweet dog,” said Hallsworth.

She believes there should be pet grooming reform. She quit Petco before Colby’s death, and says there are too many inexperienced pet groomers out there.

“When I left I told my husband, I am really worried about the dogs,” said Hallsworth.

It’s the same worry Messy Mutts owners have about other groomers. They believe cage dryers are unsafe and outdated. And they wished they were outlawed.

“I’m very for it. It’s really important for everyone in the industry to have some kind of standard that they start with and it all comes down to safety for the animal and for the groomers,” said co-owner Christine Morrison.

Messy Mutts owners believe the responsibility lies in the hands of the pet owner, saying you should consider the following if you are considering a pet groomer.

  • Carefully choose a groomer by first deciding if you need a professional.
  • If you do, evaluate the facility and understand exactly what you are paying for.
  • Ease your pet’s fears, maybe by gradually introducing your pet to a brush or comb.
  • Tell the groomer about your pet’s needs, share your animal’s temperament and age.

And finally, keep the goodbyes short and sweet, when you drop your pet off, a drawn-out emotional goodbye can stress your animal out.

“I would prefer that people have the knowledge and the skills prior to jumping in and doing it. I think it’s important to be knowledgeable about it,” said Kietzman.

Treating people’s pets like their own, and seeking out their own education is why more than 350 customers keep coming back to Messy Mutts year after year.

“I love our customers, people have a deep passion for their animals. It’s a great joy for me to be able to do what I love every day,” said Kietzman.

TV5 spoke with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, a spokesperson said there is no law in Michigan regulating the practice because the issue has not been brought up before.

The spokesperson went on to say that only dog grooming schools are required to have a license, but again, groomers are not required to attend any of those schools.

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