Late on 12 January, we were informed by the Pet Industry Federation that we must close for “Normal” business due to the increasing rise of COVID 19 cases, following NEW guidance from DEFRA.

With all the precautions we have in place to eliminate ANY contact with Clients, it saddens us that animal welfare seems to be given such low priority, particularly when we are all allowed to pitch up to garden centres, to buy things that could easily be purchased online!

Below is a statement from PIF, which includes the DEFRA guidance:

Pet Industry Federation response to DEFRA revised guidance:

Further to the publication of the DEFRA Approved Pet Business Guidance on 6th January in response to the third national lockdown, DEFRA have now announced revised and strengthened wording relevant to all pet groomers and regardless of their working environment.

DEFRA revised guidance – 12th January 2021

“Groomers may accept a dog to be groomed by appointment where this is necessary for the animals’ welfare and not simply for aesthetic reasons. Welfare reasons could include on veterinary advice for a skin condition or excessive matting causing the pet discomfort. When routine grooming can be delayed without affecting the pet’s welfare until the national lockdown is eased, it should be put off”

It is clear that the coronavirus pandemic has moved into a highly critical phase. Virus transmission is high and the intention behind this revised wording is therefore to limit the movement of people and ensure that they only leave their homes for a few reasons. Although leaving home as part of the ‘care of a pet’ was deemed appropriate last week, government rhetoric has shifted in recent days to try to restrict movement as far as possible, with increased enforcement to ensure compliance. This message is now apparent in the revised wording.

Professional groomers should therefore assess each request for grooming on a case by case basis, using their discretion to judge whether a groom is required to alleviate any suffering the animal might be experiencing. PIF would strongly advise retaining an audit trail (e.g. images, emails, messages, client history) so that groomers can provide evidence which led to the decision about the grounds for a welfare groom. If the owner is coming to your premises for the groom, consideration should also be given to providing proof of a grooming appointment, to include the date and time of the appointment and containing evidence of your business name, so that, if stopped, the owner has justification for their reason to be away from home.

PIF has worked to hard to try to allow as many pet businesses to continue to operate safely during this lockdown, and we are disappointed that this revised wording has been requested by DEFRA. It will undoubtedly have a huge impact on the operational viability of many of our grooming members. We intend to write to DEFRA to explain the impact that this wording will have on your businesses and on the dogs that rely on your professional services.

Clearly, we hope this is resolved sensibly sooner rather than later, to ensure the wellbeing of all pets. Should ANY of our clients have any concerns regarding the welfare, safety or general wellbeing of their pet(s) please call us on 07971 797042, rather than the salon number as we are unlikely to be there. We will do our utmost to ensure that any case we professional deem to be a welfare issue will be dealt with. We will continue to keep you all updated as soon as get more information and industry guidance.

Stay safe, Kelly, Geoff and the team.