Pet groomers express frustration with COVID-19 shutdowns

The groomers say all they want is to help keep pets happy and healthy, even during the pandemic.
UPLAND, Calif. (KABC) -- Ellen Martin has owned the All About Paws pet spa in Upland for nearly seven years.

This year, a lot has changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed major restrictions on pet groomers as well as many other businesses in California.

All About Paws is now operating by appointment only, and only taking a few pets per day.

"Like any other small business, this has hit us hard, it really has," said Teri Dimarino, president of the California Pet Groomers Association.

Dimarino said that with so many restrictions, trusted groomers are having a hard time keeping their businesses open.

She said that the concern isn't just for business owners struggling to make a living - it's for the wellbeing of pets as well. Dimarino says a lack of grooming can lead to skin conditions and matted hair.

"(Owners) try to cut the tangle or that matt out, they don't see where the hair starts and the skin starts and they get a nice cut in there with kitchen shears. Don't do it," Dimarino said.

Even without owner-inflicted injuries, professional groomers say severe matting can be painful.

"It causes pain in the dogs that owners don't always realize, because dogs are really resilient to pain, and they don't let us know until it's so bad that they can't take it anymore," Martin said.

Groomers say what's been the most frustrating has been the lack of consistency at the state and local level.

"We're having a real hard time understanding why we're being shut down, when we have minimal contact with the owners," Dimarino said.

The groomers say all they want is to help keep pets happy and healthy, even during the pandemic.
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