Our family’s former dog sadly succumbed to bone cancer, and it took a long time for us to be emotionally ready for another puppy – but at the end of August this year we rescued a shelter dog.
She’s a great dog and she already knew a few basic commands when we brought her home, but she still needs a little practice, so – after a lot of personal research – we hired a trainer. of local dogs to work with her.
Honestly, that’s how it usually goes when hiring a dog trainer, and that’s usually the whole story. Some trainers are great and some not, but generally you can figure out which one is which through user reviews and other forms of word of mouth.
So it struck me as particularly tragic when I read the heartbreaking story of a dog from a Utah couple named Bear, a husky mix, who died after being cared for by a dog trainer. Losing a pet is always difficult, and it is especially difficult when the loss is unexpected.
It’s understandable and reasonable to want answers when your dog dies while in someone else’s care. But if that was where it ended, Bear’s unfortunate passing would have simply been a personal tragedy, not a news item.
However, in response to the loss of their dog, the couple are asking the Utah legislature to require licensing standards and inspections for businesses that keep pets overnight.
Ashley, one of the dog’s owners, cited the cosmetology licensing requirements she had to meet to be a hairdresser as a point of comparison with the lack of a pet sitting license. The stark reality of her argument is that she shouldn’t have faced this heavy burden on the state, not that similar burdens should be placed on other industries and professions as well.
The news article says that no lawmaker has yet embraced the proposed stricter licensing of pet residents, which should come as no surprise. Governor Spencer Cox has made it clear that he wants professional licensing requirements to be fewer and less onerous in Utah, no more.
In fact, a new bill to be considered during the January legislative session would significantly revise the way current licenses are reviewed (in order to reduce their regulatory burden) as well as the scrutiny carried out when a person wishes to propose charges. completely new license to another profession. . This process would help the legislature make data-driven decisions instead of reacting emotionally to calls from practitioners or others, like this couple, asking for new licensing laws.
As tragic as Bear’s case is, it is absolutely not the role of professional licenses to guarantee quality or prevent problems from occurring. A local fast food French fries cook and a Michelin-starred chef have the exact same material handler license, and that’s how it should be.
Not only does it not make sense to create new restrictions on everyone practicing a specific profession for an incident in a place that is not even clearly their fault – or anyone’s fault – but this kind of situation is already covered by civil and criminal law. Making animal cruelty extra-illegal won’t solve the problem, but it will make it harder for everyone to make a living.
The knee-jerk reaction to more tightly regulate industries and professions whenever a customer is dissatisfied tends to hurt honest professionals, who are just trying to do their jobs, more than it prevents negative outcomes.
My heart goes out to this couple for the loss of their pet, but no legislation will bring Bear back. And no regulation will prevent other people’s problems in the future.
The loss of Bear is very sad, but it does not justify another new law.
Jen Maffessanti is director of communications at the Libertas Institute, a think tank in Lehi.