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New Jersey Could Become First State to License All Pet Groomers

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New Jersey could become the first state in the country to require all pet groomers to be licensed after a bill unanimously passed a Monday committee hearing.


New Jersey lawmakers introduced legislation that, if passed, would require pet groomers to be obtain a state groomers license in order to work with animals, much in the same way that hair stylists, barbers, and nail technicians must obtain a state cosmetology license in order to work with humans.

The Pet Grooming Licensing Act, more commonly known as Bijou’s Law, was unanimously voted through during a committee meeting following an investigation by NJ.com which documented dozens of cases of dogs dying shortly or after being groomed at PetSmart.

“Everyone I tell, they’re surprised groomers don’t require licensing,”Valerie Vainieri Huttle, who first introduced the bill in 2014 said. “There’s room for regulation. No one is against safety. It’s time to put pets over profits.”

Bijou’s Law, which was named after a 6-year-old Shih Tzu that died during a routine grooming at a big box pet salon, is sponsored by Huttle, Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez and Assemblyman Paul Moriarty.


There are currently no laws in place in New Jersey (or any other state in the country) requiring pet groomers to obtain vocational licensing or certification before working at a grooming salon. Supporters believe such a license would not only improve the quality of groomers, but would vastly reduce the risk of accidental injuries and deaths at the hands of groomers.

In order for cosmetologists to be licensed to perform haircuts, nail trims, and other salon services to human clients, they must pass a state board exam that covers topics not only related to and understanding of job performance, but basic knowledge of care, safety standards, and prevention of injury or accident.

Bijou’s Law would establish a Pet Groomers Advisory Committee within the Division of Consumer Affairs and would require groomers pass an exam to obtain a license. The groomer would also need to be at least 18 years of age and “be of good moral character.” The cost to the groomer would be around $60-75 per year.


Although none of the 50 states require groomers obtain a vocational license, only Connecticut and Colorado have at least some level of industry regulations in place, specifically regarding tethering dogs and leaving them unattended while tethered. Should this bill pass, it would be the first of its kind in the country and, many hope, would pave the way for other states to follow.

Those that oppose the bill say it is “anti-business” and would lead to the state over-regulating the pet grooming industry. Some groomers expressed concern over the financial burden of licensing and the credentials of the oversight committee members.

Would you support such a bill in your own state? Or, would you consider it a government overreach to regulate the pet grooming industry? Please, weigh in with a comment below!

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  1. Avatar Of Michel M Jeong

    michel m jeong


    I think a pet groomer license is absolutely necessary, and the accident of a person who denies the law itself is wrong bases on the wrong behavior of the groomers, not of normal character.
    Among those who have passed all tests and obtained a drive license, many people have accident such as DUI,wiolent driving, drunken drive and overspeed driving, which can kill people.There are so many characters of humans,but few.It is wrong to oppose the legistlation necessary for social life because of the few abnormal human beings.Pet grooming license is required. Pets don’t speak,so more license is needed. All education forcuses on teaching the right way animals should not be treated and abused by humans.School teach beauty skills,but also teach understanding pets and patience. If a poor character student graduated,he learns many things as he graduates. One important things is that pet groomers should not behave physically to pets that do negative reaction.But some groomers eventually do that.Like driving by DUI..Does that mean you would argue that you don’t need a Drive License? Pet groomer, a life-care job, must be a licensed job. Pet’s life is also important like huma life.I strongly support the establishment of the Pet Licensing Act.
    I have learned pet grooming in France long time ago.
    I am a Certified Dog Obedience Trainer and Pet Groomer and Instructor.

  2. Avatar Of Edina



    Unfortunately the certification won’t help in this situation. I am a groomer in 20 years. I came from Europe. We all have a dog grooming certificate and training and we can not open a business or work in a salon without a certificate. I am a dog groomer trainer also. I trained lots of new groomers and I can tell you, they will go out open they own business or work for someone. Some of them will be a great groomer and really high health safety attitude while the others just don’t care. They all studied the same tasks about grooming and health and safety ! They past the writing and grooming practice exam. But they won’t change they personal behavior just because of the grooming school. I kept in touch with some trainees and I saw them during work. Most of them are nice but I saw some aggressive groomers too. That’s not what I taught them! It is something we can control under our training program but we can not control when they are out. I also worked another Countries where certification wasn’t necessary and there was the same situation. We had a strict rule but some of them cared about the dogs health and safety same of them not. You can’t change people with a piece of paper. And accident can happen to good groomers with certificate too.

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