Occupational Licensing

Unlicensed Dog Grooming Alarms Local News Reporter

Do we really need the state to step in over an unfortunate tragedy?

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Fox 5 D.C. news correspondent Sierra Fox seemed to think the public would be shocked to discover that businesses didn't have to get state permission in order to groom pets and that viewers might be "concerned after hearing that."

Anybody who is familiar with the fearmongering tactics of local TV news outlets may have assumed that her coverage would lead to a lot of public handwringing that everybody's beloved French bulldogs and labradoodles were in grave danger. But when Fox tweeted a preview of her piece, she was instead inundated with responses from people who understand how our overreliance on government-mandated occupational licensing cuts off avenues of economic opportunity for low-income people without making us any safer:

Fox's investigation was inspired by a story from earlier in the week of a family who took their dog, Stardust, to a local pet groomer to get her nails trimmed. Something went wrong and the dog died. How the dog died is unclear and it's not certain that it was directly related to the grooming. A technician told the family that the dog had a seizure. The dog grooming shop, named Life of Riley, told Fox 5 that the dog died of heatstroke.

It's a tragedy, for certain. However, it's not yet clear that the groomer was responsible. Nevertheless, Fox decided to delve further and discovered that just anybody can call themselves a dog groomer without getting permission from the government. She spoke with a representative for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) who said they get weekly complaints of grooming abuse and accidents and encouraged concerned residents to contact lawmakers if they want to demand groomers get licensed.

But Fox's attempts to actually draw outrage from pet owners seem to have fallen flat. She went to Happy Grooming in Arlington, Virginia, and found pet owners who gave the shop great reviews and said they never have problems, despite the lack of state licensing mandates. And the owner of the shop told Fox that she didn't think licensing actually was necessary because it's "just a piece of paper" and noted that many professional groomers have been working for decades without a license and without complaints.

This is not the first time an isolated case of a pet death or two has inspired fear-driven calls for occupational licensing. Shoshana Weissmann, a fellow with free market think tank R Street and an expert analyst on occupational licensing, wrote in 2018 about a New Jersey bill that would have introduced dog grooming regulations there. The inspiration was apparently several dogs being injured or dying after visiting with pet groomers at PetSmart stores.

Weissmann noted at the time that demanding dog grooming licenses wouldn't actually resolve the problem because PetSmart could easily afford to pay for the training. But there would be completely unrelated consequences. The irony here is that occupational licensing would likely harm PetSmart's smaller independent competitors:

[A]dding licensing requirements will prevent smaller groomers from practicing—including struggling small businesses, teens who have learned to groom to earn some extra money, and other individual groomers of poorer means who have been grooming pets for years but cannot afford the training.

She repeated her concerns today to Reason in response to Fox's fearmongering.

"People babysit without a license," she points out. "Licensing was not the issue with the grooming. If you harm the dog, either the dog had some sort of issue or you're out to hurt dogs." Grooming licenses wouldn't fix either issue, "it will just put people out of business."

Rather than relying on government licensing, Weissmann encouraged pet owners to engage in a bit of research and due diligence for the pet groomers near them. Ask friends and look for online reviews. Even without the government mandates, there are voluntary pet grooming certification programs for professionals, and pet owners can ask for proof of training.

Weismann says she loved seeing all the tweets back to Fox criticizing her piece, though Weismann wishes folks were a bit nicer to the reporter in their responses.

"I wish [Fox] had reached out more," Weissmann says. "It was nice to see people on both the left and the right criticize it. It was nice to see people realize this is ridiculous."

NEXT: FBI Seized $900,000 From Safe Deposit Box on 'Pure Conjecture,' Federal Judge Says

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68 responses to “Unlicensed Dog Grooming Alarms Local News Reporter

  1. You could write one article that could just be a template for how the US/Media works:

    Unregulated ____________ alarms Reporters/Journalists/Media.

    1. I was gonna make a joke about unlicensed journalists shocking journalists, but realized that’s actually true and they have been advocating for controls on journalism. So, I guess journalists are just shocked in general. Might help if they got out more.

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  2. “Weismann wishes folks were a bit nicer to the reporter in their responses”

    Why exactly? When you see a jeffsarc clone you respond.

    1. Uh-huh…and I wish dopey on-air mouthpieces and their sordid producers would squash all stories for encouraging big gubment and collectivist-thinking

  3. “Local News Reporter Hounds Unlicensed Dog Groomer”

    Fixed your headline.

  4. We will not get justice until these stupid reporters get hauled out to the courthouse square and get publicly humiliated with a murphy. No need for hot tar and feathers or even a rail. Just a good old butt flossing with the victims own underwear. Gosh, I hope she didn’t choose to wear a thong.

    Of course, if the government did this it would be a violation of the Freedom of the Press to be dicks, so it would have to be performed by vigilance committees.

  5. How did this stupid reporter ever pass the exam to get her reporter’s license?

    1. What she did is the correct answer on the exam. The correct answer to every question is always the government needs to to something.

      1. I thought it may have been put the producers dick in your mouth.

      2. Well if Individuals can’t and Corporations are acting against the public good, then only government remains to solve problems.

        You don’t like that reality.

        Awwwwwwwwwwww… Poor you.

  6. So, Fox ginned up some clickbait for the cynical purpose of selling advertising?

    It’s comforting to know that when I come to Reason I never have to worry about such shenanigans.

  7. Milton Friedman once gave a talk at the Mayo Clinic, to a group of physicians and nurses about why it was unnecessary and counter-productive to allow state licensing of physicians.

    It’s a great talk and you can find it on youtube. His larger point was that if state licensing of physicians was unnecessary, it’s unnecessary for every other occupation as well…

    1. Why stop there? This is one big @$$ swamp with wall-to-wall rent-seeking https://mises.org/library/one-hundred-years-medical-fascism

      1. You know someone has mental problems when they link to Mises.org.

        Sick people.

  8. Did you know pet groomers journalists are *not* required to have any sort of licensing? There are currently *no* regulations in place in *any* state. Concerned after hearing that?

    1. Yeah, that is a feature not a bug. SUGGESTION: Require so-called journalists and their producers/editors have a little more transparency as you know, *sunlight* is the best disinfectant.

      For example, along with a link for tips and their glossy 8×10 have an XML dossier: results from basic background check, job history, school transcripts, any scholarships (who they might owe), results from civics, history, math, science CE, tax returns, quarterly disclosure of financial interests and their past voting. No SS#s of course!

  9. The irony here is that occupational licensing would likely harm PetSmart’s smaller independent competitors:

    That’s not “irony”, that’s intended. It’s why both corporations and politicians like massive regulations.

    1. ^

    2. Rent-seeking is a growth sector in our MMT economy:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_government_spending_as_percentage_of_GDP#List_of_countries_(2020)

      Can’t wait for minimal global tax rates!

      1. Global taxes are at hand as the Globe becomes smaller and smaller and smaller in proportion to individual power and scope.

        Don’t like it? Awwwwwwww too bad…..

    3. Corporations can and do use any and every trick in the book to capture their customers, and keep them captive.

      Failed Libertarian economic Ideology has made this an international problem of mementos proportions.

      1. True. No matter how much I want out, I’m still forced to do business with Sears, AT&T, Standard Oil, and AOL…

  10. Trying for sensationalism or outrage. That’s all journalism is anymore.
    A few years ago a local television station has an advertisement for their 6 PM news. “Plane crashes near school. Are your children in danger?” and the bit about watch their news and find out.
    What had happened was that a paraglider landed in a ball field near the school. The pilot walked over to a gas station, filled up and took off. It gets even better, this happened in July when school was out for Summer vacation.

    1. Excellent example…before there was clickbait, there was “every parent’s worst nightmare.” Hmmm…it’s almost like this must be a taught skill. SMH

    2. You can blame capitalism for that. Too many channels looking for attention from too few eyeballs, hence a need to sensationalize every report in order to generate revenue.

      “Trying for sensationalism or outrage. That’s all journalism is anymore.” – jimd5499

      1. SNL’s Weekend Update satirized this stuff in the 70s, along the lines of Scientists warn of the dangers of swallowing saliva. They said there’s nothing to worry about, unless the liquid is ingested in small amounts over a long period of time.

  11. I heard some states let people walk dogs professionally with less than a 1000 hours of high powered training

    1. Don’t worry, first they license the dog walkers and dog groomers and dog therapists, etc…paret of this will require mandated training hours, etc…then they will have the basis for forcing the trainers to get licenses as well. God forbid that Fluffy and FooFoo are handled by people that got subpar training..! RINSE and REPEAT.

    2. It is unlikely that a dog will be injured by walking it. Cutting around it’s genitals with scissors is another matter.

  12. “Well said Space Crab Spiff” is a sentence I never thought I would feel compelled to write.

  13. When I was a kid, I would sometimes let our golden retriever out in the yard. We didn’t have a fence, so it usually meant he would run up and down the block a few times and occasionally go for a swim in the local creek. He would stink after that so I’d have to give him a bath with dish detergent. This probably would get me charged with animal cruelty and unlicensed dog grooming today

    1. With us is was a beagle who rolled in gawdknowswhat that got held with one hand and sprayed with (cold) water from a garden hose. I guess it couldn’t have been too bad since she kept going out for more stink and then coming home to the same treatment time after time.

      Shall I turn myself in for punishment?

    2. “This probably would get me charged with animal cruelty and unlicensed dog grooming today”

      It almost certainly wouldn’t. However, if you were to try to remove the porcupine quills from your dog’s mouth, face, chest and legs by yourself, you might. Just washing a dog that has been rolling in carrion, or been sprayed by a skunk, no. You’re doing everyone a kindness by washing it.

    3. “This probably would get me charged with animal cruelty and unlicensed dog grooming today” – NoVaNick

      No it wouldn’t but that isn’t stopping you from pretending it would and then whining about how you would be a victim in this fantasy universe you just created for yourself.

      LOL!

      1. “No it wouldn’t but that isn’t stopping you from pretending it would and then whining about how you would be a victim in this fantasy universe you just created for yourself.”

        A good deal of the comments here are exactly this kind of fantasizing. The governments of Canada and the UK are taking millions of their citizens and summarily shooting them in the back of the head because they have instituted paid family leave, for example.

      2. em<VendicarD: Look I can read satire and sarcasm, build a strawman by acting like it’s really a reality the OP thinks exists, then proceed to burn it down.

  14. Did you know hysterical gasbags posing as ‘news reporters’ are *not* required to have any sort of licensing? There are currently *no* regulations in place in *any* state. Concerned after hearing that?

    1. “hysterical gasbags posing as ‘news reporters’” – Pyrrho21C

      If they are reporting the news then they are by definition “news reporters” and by definition can not be posing.

      There is something wrong with your brain pan… Boy…\

      1. They could just be reading scripts, which makes them presenters, or newsreaders.

      2. Damn you’re an idiot – you really don’t understand sarcasm or exaggeration or satire or really anything do you?

  15. “People babysit without a license,” she points out.” Well thanks for giving them new ideas, loudmouth.

    1. “People babysit without a license,” – Doesn’t Think it Through

      That is because there are laws against harming children and a person can be imprisoned for harming them.

      What laws exist that will imprison an unlicensed dog groomer when they break a dog’s foot or jaw, or puncture a dog’s eye with scissors, etc?

      1. That is because there are laws against harming children and a person can be imprisoned for harming them.

        Yeah, and I’m sure 14, 15, & 16 year olds are well aware of those laws. Idiot.

        What laws exist that will imprison an unlicensed dog groomer when they break a dog’s foot or jaw, or puncture a dog’s eye with scissors, etc?

        Animal cruelty laws, though for such small infractions I doubt seriously it would result in jail time.

        1. That should read….

          What laws exist that will imprison an unlicensed dog groomer when they break a dog’s foot or jaw, or puncture a dog’s eye with scissors, etc?

          Animal cruelty laws, though for such small infractions I doubt seriously it would result in jail time.

  16. People wouldn’t drop off their children at an unlicensed dentist or doctor, so it’s not much of a stretch to demand licenses of vets or groomers, if only to certify the license holder is not likely to abuse or traumatize the pet. The ability to deal with nervous and disoriented dogs and cats requires courage, self confidence, patience, and of course, the magic touch of making animals compliant to your wishes. The grooming is the easy part.

    1. Are you really comparing a child doctor or dentist to a dog groomer? You do realize Vets go to school to become Vets and are licensed with different levels of ability? Would you cut your child’s hair or allow a friend of other family member or would you call the police and have them arrested? Someone that wants to start a business grooming pets is not someone one that is likely to abuse or be nervous or disoriented around them. That makes absolutely no sense.

      1. Someone that wants to start a business grooming pets is likely to be someone out for a quick buck and is someone who values money over the welfare of the animals in their care.

        Not all people will value money above all else. But Libertarian Scumbags will, and animals will not be protected from their incompetence.

        Someone who has abused an animal should be barred for caring for animals, just as a priest who has molested children should be prohibited from teaching them.

        Licensing is how that is done.

        How amusing that you don’t understand how the real world works.

        “Someone that wants to start a business grooming pets is not someone one that is likely to abuse or be nervous or disoriented around them. ” – MTruman

        1. Someone that wants to start a business grooming pets is likely to be someone out for a quick buck…

          lol – I agree completely. I cannot tell you the number of ultra rich dog groomers I’ve met. It’s like every last one of them drives expensive cars and live in expensive houses.

          Or maybe they like animals, idiot.

      2. “Are you really comparing a child doctor or dentist to a dog groomer?”

        Yes, exactly. These are all strangers we entrust our loves to.

  17. Licensed dog grooming exists to protect animals from harm by filtering out the incompetent and the malicious.

    I have heard Libertarians say “The only good animal is a dead animal, because that is the best way to maximize profit from one.

    Libertarians are universally scumbags, and the article here, and the comments responding to it, are proof of that.

    1. For the crowd that believes that government should expand Occupational Licensing. Suppose that Occupational Licensing is requires for everything that we do. Image that the government has a say in everything that we do, that government bureaucrats get to decide how we earn a living, what are hobbies are.

      The problem isn’t too little government involvement in our daily lives, but rather way too much involvement. I don’t understand the desire of people who demand an increase the size and scope of government control over our lives at the expense of our freedoms. There is an extreme example of cognitive dissonance where they do not understand that their demands also affect them too.

      For example when government pays for all higher education, then government gets to decide who goes to college and what they get to study. Defund the police, but police are the only people who get to carry guns. The list goes on and on, but the point is that government is more of a problem than a benefit. While we probably can’t achieve a stateless society any time soon, the size and scope of government needs to be reduces instead of being expanded.

      1. “While we probably can’t achieve a stateless society any time soon, the size and scope of government needs to be reduces instead of being expanded.”

        The floor is yours: Imagine there is no government. How do you propose to assuage the concerns of people anxious about entrusting their loved ones to strangers whether they be doctors, dentists, vets or pet groomers?

        1. Private certification, insurance or posting bonds.

          No one here, nor none of their family nor friends ever took a Red Cross course for prospective babysitters?

          1. “Private certification, insurance or posting bonds. ”

            Sounds plausible though it might be too risky for private business. If they are not doing this already, then the government will surely step up.

    2. Fuck off, slaver.

      -jcr

    3. I have heard Libertarians say “The only good animal is a dead animal, because that is the best way to maximize profit from one.[sic]

      No you haven’t.

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  21. PETA is a criminal nut-cult that’s been known to steal beloved family pets and kill them. Why the FUCK did this stupid twat of a reporter go to them for their brain-dead opinion?

    -jcr

    1. Excellent question – PETA is a terrorist organization which supports such stupid things like zero animal testing is needed. PETA has also said, which teaching school children who don’t know better, that we never needed any animal testing to reach out current level medical knowledge.

      It’s just a horrible, horrible place, one which should never be used as a source for any article.

  22. PETA is a criminal nut-cult that’s been known to steal beloved family pets and kill them. Why the FUCK did this stupid twat of a reporter go to them for their brain-dead opinion?

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  23. State licensing of businesses is nothing more than way to raise revenue for the state while limiting supply (because of the frictional costs) for that business. In most states you can become a licensed contractor by obtaining a minimal amount of insurance, posting a minimal amount of a bond and paying your fee. No evidence of competence is required. Let dog grooming be. A government license adds zero value. Let the market sort things out.

  24. State licensing of businesses is nothing more than way to raise revenue for the state while limiting supply (because of the frictional costs) for that business. In most states you can become a licensed contractor by obtaining a minimal amount of insurance, posting a minimal amount of a bond and paying your fee. No evidence of competence is required. Let dog grooming be. A government license adds zero value. Let the market sort things out.

    حقوق الطفل وواجباته

  25. Maybe we need to license “news reporters”? (sarc)

  26. As someone who has a small business and has acquired many certifications professionally to become and established pet groomer, I absolutely agree with requiring a regulatory board similar to that of cosmetology with a minimum amount of knowledge and an exam session with further education requirements.
    Our industry is dying because of unprofessional grooming salons giving our industry a bad name. Those who are against it but have not worked in our industry are vastly unaware of the abuse and trauma let’s experience daily at the hands of groomers who are uneducated.

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