Local dog grooming school told to stop operating after News 6 investigation

Attorney says school has applied for license

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The state of Florida has sent a local dog grooming school a cease and desist letter.

It comes after a News 6 investigation in which two women said they paid thousands of dollars to the school but got nothing.

Ashely Roach says aspiring to become a dog groomer was a no-brainer.

"I love dogs. I've grown up with dogs all my life," she said.

Lisa Riff told a similar story.

"I worked at PetSmart years ago and just decided that this is what I wanted to do as a career," Riff said.

The two women met while attending school at Dog Groomer Academy in east Orange County.

"One day, I was hoping to open my own business, even if I just do it from home," Roach said.

Both women paid hefty tuition fees. Riff paid almost $4,000. Roach paid almost $6,000, according to receipts both women provided to News 6.

Riff and Roach say they got the school's curriculum and started the school within one week of each other.

It was supposed to be a 200-hour course, but they say what they got left much to be desired.

"She didn't put a dog on the table and show us, this is what you do for this dog," Roach said about the instructor's teaching  technique. "Basically, they handed us dogs and told us to clip them."

Dog Groomer Academy states on its website that you can become a "certified" dog groomer. Florida does not require dog groomers to have a certification.  

We asked if the website is misleading. Attorney Juan De La Torre represents Dog Groomer Academy.

"There is nothing intentionally misleading," he said.

De La Torre and Adamaris Lopez, who is an instructor at the family-owned business, agreed to do an interview.

"We actually do have requirements that we've built in our school to ensure that all of our students have some sort of structure and proper training," Lopez said. 

But there could be a bigger issue. The state does require schools to be licensed.

After News 6 inquired, a Department of Education spokesperson said in an email, "At this time, Dog Groomer Academy is not licensed with the Commission for Independent Education."

De La Torre later said the school has applied for a license and is working to correct any deficiencies. 
"It was pointless," Roach said. "It basically felt like we paid them to do their work while they sat."

The Florida Department of Education sent News 6 a copy of the letter it sent to Dog Groomer Academy.

"Immediately cease all advertising as a school, college, or university. Cease the solicitation and enrollment of any students," the letter states. 

The letter also states the school should request an application for licensure.

If you are looking to become a dog groomer, always check if the school is licensed by going to the Florida Department of Education's website.

Before you drop your pet off with a groomer, ask where the groomer went to school.

In some cases, you can contact the school and ask if the person graduated and if the school would recommend them as a groomer.

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