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New push for pet groomers to be licensed in North Carolina

Currently, there are no formal requirements to become a dog groomer, and the Tar Heel State does not regulate the profession.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A bill making its way through another state's legislature requiring pet groomers to be licensed is gaining popularity in North Carolina.

If passed, “Bijou’s Law” will require pet groomers to be licensed in New Jersey.

Rosemary Marchetto, Bijou’s former owner, is pushing for the bill to become law after her Shih Tzu died during a routine trip to the groomer at a “very well-known pet store chain.”

"It's appalling that your locksmith and your nail technician has to be licensed, but your dog groomer who takes utensils to animals are not licensed,” Marchetto said.

Currently, there are no formal requirements to become a dog groomer in North Carolina, and the state does not regulate the profession.

Michael Batchelor is leading the charge in North Carolina to push for regulations in the grooming industry after he said his dog, Gunner, was left with bloodshot eyes after a visit to a groomer.

"I was angry,” Batchelor told our sister station WRAL in January after the incident. “I was angry. It was really heartbreaking."

Since there are no state regulations for groomers in North Carolina at this point, the Humane Society of Charlotte recommended pet owners do their due diligence before deciding where to take a pet for grooming.

“You definitely want to do your research,” Emily Cook, marketing and communications manager for the Humane Society of Charlotte, said. “Do things like check reviews online, utilize word of mouth, make sure that you go and check out the facilities.”

Cook said it’s also important for pet owners to ask plenty of questions beforehand.

"How do they restrain the animals to groom them?” Cook said. “How do they keep them at their place of business while they're not being groomed? What kind of products do you use?"

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