Pet groomer charged, accused of defying stay-home order

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A woman is accused of violating Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order by reopening her pet grooming shop in Vancouver, Washington, in May.

Kelly Carroll of Battle Ground faces one count of violating an emergency order proclamation, The Columbian reported. Vancouver attorney Angus Lee entered a not-guilty plea on her behalf last week.

An affidavit of probable cause says Carroll’s grooming shop, The PetBiz, was in the non-essential category, meaning it was not eligible to operate while the stay-at-home order was in place. Carroll publicized her intent to reopen and organized a May 16 rally at her shop, which more than 100 people attended, according to the affidavit.

When a Vancouver police officer contacted Carroll at her shop three days later, it was open, and the officer saw a customer pay for services, court records say. Carroll told the officer she “opened her business because she needed money for food and housing,” the affidavit says.

If convicted, Carroll faces one day shy of a year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.

Lee said he believes Carroll’s case is the first of its kind in the state. The Washington Attorney General’s Office in May filed consumer protection lawsuits, civil court actions, over similar accusations against two gyms.

A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office said it is not tracking criminal cases alleging violations of the governor’s order. Mike Faulk, a spokesperson for the governor’s office, said it’s the first case he’s heard of that was not initiated by the state.