A dog owner has called for the immediate introduction of strict regulations for groomers in Northern Ireland after her pet needed veterinary treatment for an injury sustained at a grooming salon.
Nadine Quigley from Co Armagh, is nursing her two-year-old dog Teddy today after he sustained a laceration on his leg which required surgery to repair.
Ms Quigley, 35, a youth worker and counsellor, said: “I took my dog Teddy to a new groomer for a trim because my normal groomer was booked out.
“I asked for a simple trim to keep on top of his curls and told the groomer that she didn’t need to style him or anything. Just a trim to keep him comfortable and tat-free until I could get an appointment with his regular groomer. She said it would be £15 and I left him with her in what looked like a very nice establishment.
“But when I called back to collect Teddy he was injured. Initially I couldn’t get in and when the door was opened the groomer was there with her father and as I started to walk in I noticed Teddy’s cut wasn’t right. When I got closer I noticed a big open wound on his leg.
“I was completely shocked and asked her what happened and she said that she’d accidentally nicked him with the shaver and her father told me that Teddy was a bad dog and the worst they’d ever come across.
“I was stunned. I told them Teddy, who’s two, had been groomed many times before with no issues. I was furious and went to leave but the groomer said she still hadn’t cut around Teddy’s face and I said, ‘I think you have cut him enough.’ I put £15 on the counter left.
“Driving down the road I was still in shock and had to pull over and check on Teddy and that’s when I realised how badly injured my dog was. There was skin missing from his knee and a flap of skin hanging off.
“I realised this was more than a nick and he needed to see a vet at this point. So I phoned the groomer and told her that Teddy would need to see a vet and I was holding her responsible for his injury. I said she’d have to pay for the vet bill and she agreed.”
Teddy, a Bischon Frise Maltese mix, was taken to a Co Down vet where the wound was assessed and it was explained that Teddy would have to be sedated and the wound clipped further, cleaned and stitched. The dog underwent the short surgery and was allowed home with pain relief after he came round from anaesthetic.
Nadine said: “The vet said that in her opinion the injury was likely caused by scissors and not a shaver. I just wish I’d waited for an appointment with his normal groomer because poor Teddy has paid the price. I feel completely devastated and heartbroken with the whole situation.
“A £15 haircut for my wee dog left him in pain and upset, meant he had to undergo anaesthetic and now he has to have his bandages changed every three days while he heals. And what’s more I’ve been left to find almost £120 to cover the rest of the bill.
“I didn’t realise until today that dog groomers do not have any rules or regulations to abide by in their business. They don’t even have to be qualified or insured to open up a business.
“So I’m calling on all councils in Northern Ireland for urgent change and the introduction of strict regulations for anyone in the dog grooming business. They should be properly qualified and insured and have a code of practice to abide by with a council licence required and unannounced inspections and fines too.”
Dog groomer and trainer Nicola Stringer, owner of Paws & Claws in Co Antrim, has 26 years experience in the industry and agrees it urgently needs to be regulated.
Nicola explained: “It’s just devastating to see a lovely little dog carrying an injury like this and I hope the owner and groomer can come to an accommodation. If I had an accident with a dog, I would contact the owner right away, take the dog to a vet and pay the bill and also ask for permission to keep in touch with the owner to see how the dog is afterwards.
“Incidents like this bring focus back on the fact that dog grooming carries risks but also that in Northern Ireland the industry is not regulated in any way. There are simply no rules around it so it’s the choice of a groomer as to how they operate.
“Personally, I have my NVQ Level 3 in grooming and the Assessors A1 Award which means I can train groomers. I also carry full public liability insurance but that really only covers any potential injury to a client who comes onto my property. It doesn’t cover the health or wellbeing of the dog while in my care.
“We need the industry, which grew massively during lockdown, to be strictly regulated to try as far as possible to protect the dogs, protect the dog owners and in turn protect the groomers.”
DogsLive approached the groomer Nadine took Teddy to at her establishment for comment about the incident. She said: “I’m not paying the rest of the bill and neither would you.”