Pet groomers are confused about whether they're allowed to operate in Toronto right now
Pet grooming services and pet owners in Toronto have been getting conflicting information regarding whether or not grooming is permitted during Ontario's extended state of emergency.
Dog walking is now an essential service in Ontario, following a change to public health guidelines last week
But whether or not you can take your pooch for a trim in Toronto—specifically if it affects their health and welfare—is still unclear.
Since the beginning of the lockdown, groomers and pet owners province-wide have cited painful conditions for animals and risks of developing major health issues due to owners' lack of access to grooming services.
Overgrown nails that lead to mobility issues, unsanitary skin irritations, and matted fur leading to painful knots are just some of the problems that might arise if dogs can't access their groomers.
Recently, a member of a Facebook group for pet owners received an email from a City of Toronto bylaw enforcement representative about a recent change to public health guidelines.
"By way of update, dog groomers will now be permitted to operate their businesses by way of curbside pick-up and drop-off following all public health guidelines," said the e-mail sent Tuesday.
Speaking to blogTO, the City was not able to confirm whether this information is true, directing the decision to Provincial guidelines.
However, a spokesperson for Ontario Ministry of Health said: "As of December 26, 2020, O. Reg. 82/20 was amended. Pet grooming services will be closed, unless they are required for the health and welfare of an animal such as a grooming service provided by a vet."
Whether or not pet groomers can perform those services officially under public health guidelines was not confirmed by the Province at the time of publication.
The issue of whether grooming should be allowed during lockdown has resulted in thousands of signatures across several different petitions.
"We're just praying that we can be considered essential, not just for this pandemic, but for everything going forward," Tanya Ellis, president of the Worldwide Pet Grooming Association (WWPGA), told blogTO.
Formed in April 2020, near the beginning of Ontario's lockdown, the WWPGA and its members have been urging the provincial and municipal governments to essentialize pet grooming.
It's not just that pet owners are too lazy to do it themselves, says Ellis. Accessibility plays a crucial role in what owners can and can't manage on their own.
"There are elderly people who dont have mobility and they can't maneuver the tools properly. They also weren't properly trained to do them," says Ellis. "There are disabilities that people might have that would prevent them from grooming their own dog."
Dog groomers like Kristy's Mutt Cutts on Kingston Road are sharing photos to illustrate how painful conditions for pets can be if left ungroomed for too long.
Not all vets will take appointments for grooming services that aren't considered an emergency. An influx of pet adoptions taking place in Ontario right now means that many are waiting extra long periods to see a vet at all.
Ellis also says that the lockdown has seen more pet accidents, where owners have accidentally injured their animals while attempting to groom them.
"Nobody wants to do that," says Ellis. "They would prefer for a professional to [groom] it."
Join the conversation Load comments