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Feb. 28, 2021 | Sunday
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Town says province insists dog groomers must stay closed
Tania Sapielak of The Mutt Hutt and other groomers says grooming is an essential service for the welfare of many pets. (File photo/Richard Harley)

Despite complaints from many quarters, and some municipalities permitting dog grooming, the province says grooming is still not an essential service.

"Dog grooming continues to be a contentious item," NOTL's chief administrator Marnie Cluckie told council Monday.

She said the town reached out to the province for clarity after she and councillors received a "number of questions" about the rules governing groomers.

In the last lockdown it was permitted, but the province amended the rule to say it's no longer allowed during lockdown.

Cluckie said the town received a response from the office of Ontario's chief medical officer, which said pet grooming services are to be closed, except if required "for the health and welfare of an animal" and is to be "provided by a veterinarian only."

"So while I know some people will be upset about that, at least we have some clarity that it is closed, and the only exception would be if a vet deems it necessary for health and wellness of the pet and they provide that service," Cluckie said.

"They also said that if this concerns a business, it should be noted that each business and organization needs to seek their own legal counsel to determine how the various regulations are made, and how they apply to their operations."

Groomers and vets disagree on the closure, and while municipalities like Niagara Falls are allowing groomers, Cluckie said NOTL will continue to follow the province's guidelines.

Lord Mayor Betty Disero said the town has been enforcing provincial regulations and realizes the decision "has been causing some anxiety among some businesses."

Town staff always have the health and safety of the community "first and foremost in the decisions they're making," Disero said.

Additionally, Cluckie said she also had questions about whether pet walking and pet training is permitted.

The answer is no, except for service animal training, she said.

So, "yes, you absolutely can take your pet out for exercise. However, you are not permitted to walk someone else's pet, nor can you conduct pet training, except for service animals."

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