Dr. Fish Bites Back

In journalism school, one of the oft-repeated maxims we learned about “what is news?” went as follows: “If the story is ‘dog bites man,’ it’s not news. If the story is ‘man bites dog,’ it is.” Well, similarly while the story of the “Dr. Fish pedicure” is no longer news after its five-minutes-of-fame a year and a half ago, a new twist has developed that has brought the pedicure (in which tiny carp bite dead skin off of clients’ feet) back into the spotlight. It seems that a salon in Arizona was told by the Arizona Board of Cosmetology that it had to stop offering the service or risk losing its license — and that salon is now biting back.
The Goldwater Institute, an independent government watchdog, is suing the Arizona State Board saying it overstepped its legal authority by telling Spa Fish Therapy owner Cindy Vong (who also owns LaVie Nail Salon) that she can’t offer the service. “The Board knows nothing about spa fish therapy, so its reaction is to shut it down,” said lead attorney Clint Bolick in a press release. “The Board’s action is more about protecting cosmetologists from competition than it is about protecting consumers against anything except wet feet and smooth skin.”
“For the couple of months I was allowed to perform the treatment it was very popular” Cindy Vong said in the release. “People came from all over, other states, Scottsdale, Tucson. All small businesses should have the freedom to step outside the box and be creative.”
“Some people will view this a fishy lawsuit,” Bolick added about Vong v. Sansom. “But it affects the economic liberty of every American. Too many small businesses have been destroyed by overzealous regulation. If we have anything to do with it, Cindy Vong’s Spa Fish will not be one of them.”
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