RISPCA: Time to regulate pet groomers

EJ Finocchio’s comments come in wake of death of Daisy, a Maltese mix, at a Warren groomer

EastBayRI.com ·

The president of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) is calling for the licensing and regulation of pet groomers, after a dog owned by a Bristol woman died while in the care of a dog groomer in Warren.

Daisy, a maltese mix owned by Bethany Iiams of Bristol, hanged itself after falling off a table while being groomed last month by David Russell of Dirty Dog Grooming in Warren. Dirty Dog specializes in “crate free” grooming and groomers there use “slip leads” around animals’ necks to secure them. During Daisy’s grooming procedure Mr. Russell left the table for several minutes.While he was away and not watching the dog, Daisy fell off the table and was strangled by the slip lead.

The RISPCA’s report on the incident is not public. But on Friday, EJ Finocchio, the president of the RISPCA, said Daisy’s death should never have occurred. Coupled with the recent death of a dog being shampooed at a Petco in Middletown, he said the time has come for the state to regulate groomers to ensure safety, professionalism and accountability.

“There was no intention of neglect obviously,” he said. “But the groomer was negligent. Something has to be done; I don’t know how these groomers can do what they do and get away with it.”

Mr. Russell did not return a telephone call for comment.

Since the death of her dog, Ms. Iiams has called for the regulation of pet groomers in Rhode Island and has spoken to a West Bay legislator looking into a legislative change that would require it. Currently, other than the business licenses most towns require, groomers are subject to no regulation or oversight.

“Without getting to bureaucratic about it, we would support” regulation and legislation, Dr. Finocchio said. “They should be trained. These things continue to happen. There are some very good groomers, but because of a few bad apples it makes it difficult for others.”

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