Editorial: Does the state need to regulate every activity? Bill to oversee groomers is worthy of the doghouse

Regulation is clearly beneficial and even essential for some occupations. Physicians, nurses, dentists, accountants and attorneys, for example, should be strictly regulated and licensed. But there are other occupations for which the benefit of regulation is dubious, at best.

Interior designers, massage therapists and barbers are just some of numerous occupations the state of California regulates at high costs but with questionable public benefit.

If a few aggrieved pet owners have their way and more rational decision makers don't intervene, pet groomers may be added to that list. At the behest of a dog owner whose pet was injured by a groomer, Sen. Juan Vargas has introduced "Lucy's Law." Senate Bill 969 would make California the first and only state in the nation to require vocational licenses for pet groomers.

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Lucy is a mixed terrier whose nipples were shaved off by a groomer. For dog owners especially, it's a heart-wrenching story, but it hardly justifies an expensive, new, heavy- handed, state-controlled regulatory scheme.

"Our state can make a difference," Vargas argues, "by professionalizing the pet grooming industry to ensure that groomers are properly trained and pets protected from harm."

Consumers beware. When an occupation becomes a "profession" licensed by the state, invariably the cost for the service rises. Vargas' bill would require pet groomers to be licensed and regulated by the Veterinary Medical Board.

To bathe a dog or clip his shaggy coat, every licensee would have to attend a licensed pet grooming school, pass a test, pay a fee and maintain insurance. They would be required to keep a record for every pet they serviced for two years, the name of the pet, the name and address of the owner and the pet's veterinarian, any special needs the pet may have or allergies and a list of all chemicals used on the pet. The requirements go on and on, adding to the costs that will be passed on to consumers.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/22/4280945/editorial-does-the-state-need.html