Remember those innocent days (such as 2008) when the California State Legislature’s involvement with household pets was focused on bills such as former Assemblyman (and current candidate for Congress) George Plescia’s Assembly Concurrent Resolution 103 – “Take Your Dog to Work Day?”
Today (April 17, 2012) the Assembly Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection Committee was crowded with pet teeth cleaners, vets, and dog owners as it deliberated over Assembly Bill 2304, a bill introduced by Assemblyman Martin Garrick (R-Carlsbad) that would clarify that veterinarians do not have a monopoly over the use of “nonmotorized instruments, including, but not limited to, a scaler, to remove calculus, soft deposits, plaque, or stains from an exposed area of a household pet’s tooth above the gum line, provided that the service is performed exclusively for cosmetic purposes and the person performing the service first obtains written permission from the person requesting the service” by completing a form.
I only know about the hearing on this bill because I had to wait for this extravaganza to be over so that Assembly Bill 1947 could be quickly considered and rejected. A highlight was when one passionate supporter of the bill brought her fluffy white dog to the witness table.
Assessing the message of the opponents of the bill, I thought it might have helped the California Veterinary Medical Association to more effectively fend off the Anesthesia-Free Teeth Cleaners Association if the vets had brought an old toothless dog to the witness table as an exhibit, but they did not. Also, there would have been even more excitement if someone had demonstrated anesthesia-free teeth cleaning techniques on a cat.
Meanwhile, pet groomers and dog owners keep a wary eye on State Senator Juan Vargas’ Senate Bill 969, which creates a “California Pet Grooming Council” and would require any person engaged in pet grooming to be certified and regulated by that potentially power-hungry council.
Someday perhaps I’ll write a ground-breaking history of coercive government intervention in pet ownership and care, but right now we can watch history being made as the state legislature is buffeted by special interest groups fighting over market control of pet grooming and pet teeth-cleaning. Only a flaccid, over-pampered civilization in decline would spend so much time and money debating government policies over pet care services, estimated to be $58 billion in the United States in 2011.