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The Massachusetts Joint Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee (JCPPL) has scheduled a public hearing for Monday, June 26, 2023, from 1pm to 4pm, and will accept comments on a bill of concern to the American Kennel Club (AKC).


HB 310 would require anyone who grooms a pet for money to pass approved testing standards and obtain a state grooming license.  Grooming facilities would also undergo periodic inspections to ensure compliance with rules and regulations issued. Violations would result in penalties ranging from $100 to $1,000 per offense.

Health and safety should always be primary considerations when grooming a dog. In addition to other appropriate training, AKC recommends that professional groomers should pass a course and exam on basic health and safety standards, such as AKC’s S.A.F.E. Grooming Program or a similar program, prior to being licensed as a professional groomer. However, grooming that is incidental to preparing a dog for a dog show or other exhibition should be conducted with similar care but should not be subject to Massachusetts licensing or professional grooming regulations.

Massachusetts residents are encouraged to contact the JCPPL Committee and share your concerns.  Please consider the following talking points:

  • HB 310 licensure should not apply to grooming that is done by a professional dog handler who is paid to prepare a dog for a show or exhibition.
  • Professional handlers are paid by dog owners or breeders to train, condition, and show dogs in conformation shows and earn points towards AKC championships. They travel across the country to exhibit dogs at competitive events.
  • Most professional handlers are not Massachusetts residents; therefore, if professional handlers are not exempted, HB 310 would have extraterritorial impacts.
  • In 2022, AKC sanctioned 476 Massachusetts events with 63,000 participants. Spending by AKC dog show exhibitors for a show weekend injects more than $2.15 million into the local economy.
  • Without a handler exemption, entries at competitive events would diminish and likely result in negative economic impacts to Massachusetts.
  1. Written testimony is encouraged and may be submitted via email to Please include the bill number and “Testimony” in the subject line of the email.

    2. Registration to present oral testimony, both virtually and in person, is required. To register, please fill out your contact information in this FORM by Friday, June 23 at 5:00 PM. If providing testimony virtually, you will receive an invitation to the hearing with instructions via email after the deadline closes. If testifying in person, sign in upon arriving in Room B-2 at 24 Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02133.

AKC Government Relations (GR) will continue to provide updates on this bill and other Massachusetts legislation as developments warrant.  For more information on this or other legislative issues in Massachusetts, contact AKC GR at 919-816-3720 or; or the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners at