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N.J. Woman Pushes For Law Regulating Pet Groomers After Dog Dies

ENGLEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- If you ever use a pet groomer, a new law has been proposed in New Jersey that could protect your dog or cat.

As CBS2's Cindy Hsu reported, a woman was prompted to take action after her dog was killed.

Bijou, a 6-year-old shih-tzu, died shortly after being dropped off to be groomed at a well-known pet store chain, according to Bijou's owner, Rosemary Marchetto.

"Within an hour, I received a phone call that he had died. And to my surprise I went back," Marchetto said. "I was in hysterics, and I just couldn't believe what I was hearing."

That was nearly three years ago, and Marchetto said she settled out of court with the company. Thus, she she will not discuss any details about the death.

Her focus now is working with Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Teaneck) to pass Bijou's Law in New Jersey.

The law would require pet groomers to be licensed. Right now, it is an industry that is not regulated.

"We just want to raise the level again of professional care, sanitary care, and making sure that we're protecting pet owners and the pets," Huttle said.

The bill requires pet groomers to be at least 18 years old, and pass a test by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. Huttle said a license would cost about $60 to $75, so it shouldn't be a financial burden to small businesses.

Many grooming companies already have regulations in place, but they are voluntary. Marchetto said until a law is passed, it is up to pet owners to ask lots of questions.

"It would behoove you to find out who your groomer is, how long they've been grooming, what kind of track record they have -- you need to do this kind of work," Marchetto said. "I thought it was safe. I thought it was a licensed profession."

Marchetto and Huttle were in Trenton on Thursday to fight for Bijou's Law. They hope to get it passed in the new year. If they are successful, New Jersey would be the first state in the country to have such a law.

For more about Bijou's law, click here.

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