Why are politicians uninterested in animal grooming as essential service?

By Lindsay Advocate

Pet grooming business broken into

Pawz and Company is a dog boarding facility, offering boarding, doggy daycare and grooming services. We have been deemed an essential service and have remained open and kept our employees on our payroll. With isolation and no travel, there isn’t a need for boarding of animals.

We have been in contact with local/provincial agencies and no one could provide any definitive answers to our questions. But after calling the Ontario “Stop the Spread Business Information Line” we were informed that since our business is registered as a boarding kennel, we could offer our doggy “day-boarding” service. That means owners’ pets can be dropped off and spend the day with us and other dogs, playing and running outside). We have all the protocols in place for curbside pickup and delivery. This would allow us to try and generate some revenue.

When I asked about offering grooming services, the answer was “no.” Grooming was not on the list of essential services. Even though the exact process and protocols would have to be adhered to for boarding and day boarding, we were told we are not allowed to groom.

Grooming has become a very contentious issue surrounding the health and welfare of animals. Politicians, at all levels, seem uninterested and deflect it as not their responsibility.

On May 11, “non-essential” retail, with street access will be allowed for curbside pickup and delivery, with no other details. Does that mean groomers can groom again if they meet all the requirements?

There is a task force in town to help businesses try and recover from the pandemic and they have a survey on their website which requests information on the impact of COVID-19 on your business, and if you had any information you would like to share in order to help with the recovery.

Near the end of the survey, they ask you to identify your business type with several categories to choose from. Of course, anything related towards the pet industry (like veterinary, grooming, or boarding) is not a category to select (even though Lindsay has many veterinary clinics, several grooming salons and boarding facilities.)

Why has pet grooming been neglected during this pandemic? Why was it not deemed essential and why is it still slipping through the cracks? Our phone rings constantly, with desperate clients asking if we are grooming. It’s heartbreaking to say that we are not allowed. Grooming can greatly reduce the incidences of needing medical attention.

For instance, if a dog has skin issues created by mats, this might require antibiotics and sometimes pain medications and sedatives to keep them from scratching. Dogs that have skin conditions require special medical shampoo and require a medicated bath every two weeks. There are many medical reasons why grooming is a great prevention for more serious medical issues.

Instead, pets are now forced to take pain medications or antibiotics.

There is a groundswell of frustration growing as petitions are being created and circulated, all in the attempt to have someone revisit this oversight when it comes to the health and well being of our pets.

We need a way to raise awareness so that our government will revisit this essential service. If not, our pets will continue to suffer and their health and welfare will be greatly impacted.

Deborah Dixon

Pawz and Company

1 Comment

  1. Sandra says:

    I live in Brampton and I have contacted the Premier our MPP and MP with the following email:

    Most groomers are street facing businesses by appointment only so the risk of crowds is a moot point. The risk of COVID-19 between pets and humans is also a non issue. The dogs are bathed upon arrival. These are small businesses that are taking a financial impact and with warmer weather coming this impacts the health of the animals, especially there nails. This is not aesthetics this is health and well being of the animals.

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