Sudden deaths of dogs at groomers prompts Rooney bill

TRENTON, N.J. – In response to the recent deaths of three dogs that died at routine grooming appointments in New Jersey, Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney introduced legislation today requiring pet groomers who have three or more complaints filed against them to register with the state Division of Consumer Affairs.

“Many pet owners consider their pets part of their family,” said Rooney (R-Bergen). “To have them die suddenly at the hands of a pet groomer is tragic. But we shouldn’t penalize all groomers because of the actions of a few.

“Most are mom and pop main street shops who are reliable and survive by having strong relationships with their customers,” continued Rooney. “Requiring them to be licensed in New Jersey would create another unnecessary burden on small businesses. At the same time, we need to provide a level of regulation to ensure the safety of pets in their care. This bill provides the right balance.”

Under the bill (A4055), if three complaints are filed against a pet groomer in a calendar year resulting in the death, injury or severe illness of the animal, the groomer must register with DCA.

Two dogs died during appointments at a Flemington PetSmart in December last year. Three months later, another dog died at a Toms River PetSmart after being dropped off for grooming.