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New Jersey Assembly Bill 3044, which seeks to create state oversight of dog groomers, was amended earlier this week and has been scheduled for further consideration by the Assembly Appropriations Committee this Monday, October 22, 2018.  The American Kennel Club (AKC) appreciates a recent amendment that clarifies that individuals who groom a dog to prepare it for a show or competitive event will not be subject to the regulatory scheme, but remains concerned with the costliness of implementing a state-run program when private alternatives, including AKC’s S.A.F.E. Groomer Certification Program, are available.

The AKC encourages all concerned New Jersey citizens to contact the members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee to request a full fiscal impact analysis prior to full consideration of the bill. 

The AKC believes that appropriate grooming to ensure health and wellbeing is part of responsible dog ownership. The time an owner spends grooming a dog helps to build the bond between dog and owner. 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.A.F.E. Grooming Certification or a similar program, prior to being licensed as a professional groomer. 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 licensing or professional grooming regulations.

Summary of A.3044 (as currently worded):

  • Requires the licensing of pet groomers under a newly-created New Jersey State Board of Pet Groomers in the Division of Consumer Affairs. To be eligible for licensure as a pet groomer, an applicant must: be at least 18 years of age; be of good moral character; and pass an examination prepared by or approved by the Board to determine the applicant’s competence to practice pet grooming. No person may practice or attempt to practice pet grooming unless licensed.
  • Exempts from licensure a registered student in a school licensed by the board if the student is performing grooming services under appropriate supervision at the school in which they are enrolled; an individual engaged in performing grooming services while not enrolled in a school if the individual is at least 16 years of age and performs those services under the direct supervision of a licensed pet groomer and while training in preparation of the pet groomer’s licensing examination; or an individual who grooms a dog or cat to prepare it for a show or competitive event.
  • Fails to explicitly require consideration of past formal training and on-the-job experience of current professional pet groomers as justification for licensure.
  • Sets forth licensure and renewal fees at $75 and $50, respectively.
  • Authorizes the new State Board of Pet Groomers to implement continuing education requirements for licensees.
  • Establishes operating standards for pet groomers, including allowing the use of cage dryers if owners grant informed written consent.
  • Provides a definition of “pet incident” and requires reporting of such an incident within 10 days.
  • Revises the effective date of the bill to allow for the immediate establishment of the State Board of Pet Groomers so as to allow the administrative work to begin.

As currently worded, professional groomer oversight would be established and run by the state, including developing exams, licensing tracking, and maintaining initial and continuing education standards and records.  This will require the state to expend significant financial resources.  Alternatively, we urge the Assembly to consider a public-private partnership, with the American Kennel Club’s S.A.F.E. Grooming Certification Program or an equivalent professional program, which would allow the state to more quickly implement grooming safety standards without incurring a significant fiscal impact.

What You Can Do:
Concerned New Jersey residents are encouraged to contact the members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and the committee aide prior to its Monday, October 22nd meeting to:

1) respectfully urge them to fully study the economic impact the state will likely incur by implement A.3044’s state-run pet groomers oversight program, and

2) alternatively establish a public-private partnership with AKC S.A.F.E or similar safety certifications.

New Jersey residents are also encouraged to attend Monday’s hearing to express these concerns.  The hearing takes places at 1PM in Committee Room 11, 4th Floor, of the State House Annex, 131 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08608.

Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli, Chairman
935 Kings Highway
Suite 400
West Deptford, NJ 08086
Phone:  856-251-9801

Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer, Vice Chairman
1 Howe Avenue
Suite 401
Passaic, NJ 07055
Phone: 973-249-3665

Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Jr.
Delran Professional Center
8008 Rt. 130 North
Bldg. C
Suite 450
Delran, NJ 08075
Phone: 856-461-3997

Assemblyman Wayne P. DeAngelo
4621A Nottingham Way
Hamilton, NJ 08690
Phone: 609-631-7501

Assemblywoman Gabriela M. Mosquera
129 Johnson Road
Suite 1
Turnersville, NJ 08012
Phone:  856-232-6700

Assemblyman Ryan E. Peters
176 Route 70
Suite 13
Medford, NJ 08055
Phone: 609-654-1498

Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin
263 Lafayette St. 1st Floor
Newark, NJ 07105
Phone: 973-5899-0713

Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney
1211 Hamburg Turnpike
Suite 301
Wayne, NJ 07470
Phone: 973-237-7362

Assemblywoman Cleopatra G. Tucker
400 Lyons Ave.
Newark, NJ 07112
Phone: 973-926-4320

Assemblyman Jay Webber
160 Littleton Road
Suite 204
Parsippany, NJ 07054
Phone: 973-917-3420

Assemblyman Harold J. “Hal” Wirths
One Wilson Dr.
Suite 2B
Sparta, NJ 07871
Phone: 973-300-0200

Scott A. Brodskey, Committee Aide
Phone: 609-847-3835

Other bills being considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Monday, October 22:

Assembly Bill 2317 – Requires kennels (defined as any establishment wherein or whereon the business of boarding or selling dogs or breeding dogs for sale is carried on, except a pet shop) and veterinary facilities to provide for the supervision of dogs, training of employees, and maintenance of certain records.

Assembly Bill 1923 / Senate Bill 1093 – prohibits the use of elephants and other wild or exotic animals in a traveling animal act.

AKC’s Government Relations Department (AKC GR) will provide additional updates on A.3044 and other pending New Jersey legislation as developments warrant. For more information, contact AKC GR at