RARITAN TWP., NJ – The death of a dog at PetSmart here has led one state legislator to introduce legislation to increase protections for family pets.

If Sen. Kip Bateman’s bill is passed into law, pet groomers would be required to be properly trained and licensed.

Bateman  calls his proposal “Bijou’s Law” but it could just as easily have been named “Scruffles’ Law.”

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Scruffles was an eight-year-old bulldog owned by Danielle DiNapoli and her family. She brought Scruffles to the PetSmart store here for grooming in December and that was the last time she saw her alive.

Bijou also died at the hands of a groomer during what Rosemary Marchetto, Bijou’s owner, called “a routine grooming.” Bijou was a six-year-old Shih Tzu.

Marchetto said she plans to pursue a Bijou’s Law at the federal level.

“It is sadly far too common for us to read of dog grooming deaths in the news,” said Bateman in a press release. “It’s clear that something needs to be done to improve training and oversight.”

Bateman said he began looking at legislative remedies after Scruffles’ death.  

“Countless pets have died at the hands of negligent groomers and bathers. My precious beloved bulldog could have been alive today if she was in the hands of a properly-trained groomer/bather,” said DiNapoli. “I 100 percent support ‘Bijou’s Bill.’ It is critical that pet groomers are properly trained and licensed to take care of our companion pets.”

“If we’re going to regulate hair and nail salon for humans, we should do the same for our furry friends,” Bateman said.