Nikki Salisbury named dog-control officer, plans to move grooming biz to Knox

Enterprise file photo — H. Rose Schneider

Nikki Salisbury helps a dog get a vaccine at the “Dog Day Celebration” in Knox in 2017. Salisbury has been appointed as the dog-control officer for Knox and is also applying to move her dog-grooming business from Duanesburg to the Knox hamlet.

KNOX — Nikki Salisbury has been named the dog-control officer for Knox and also plans to bring her dog-grooming business to town.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Knox Town Board unanimously appointed Salisbury to begin her work as dog-control officer on Jan. 1.

Salisbury is also looking to move her dog-grooming parlor, Groomingtales, to the Knox hamlet next year. She went before the Knox Zoning Board of Appeals to apply for a special-use permit on Dec. 6.

Salisbury, 29, has been a dog groomer for seven years. She grew up in Knox, and told The Enterprise on Tuesday morning that she wants to move her business to the Hilltowns where she said there are not many dog-grooming parlors.

Her business would move to the same building that houses the restaurant the Knox Market. They would be the only two businesses in the hamlet, which is the town’s sole business district. The building, once a general store, was purchased by Ardi Cecunjanin, who runs the Knox Market, from Vasilios Lefkaditis, Knox’s supervisor, who had the old store renovated.

Councilman Dennis Barber said at Tuesday’s meeting that he and Councilman Kenneth Saddlemire met with three candidates for dog-control officer and decided to propose Salisbury for the post.

Their reasoning was in part that Salisbury would be available, as she would be opening a grooming parlor a little over 100 yards down the road from the town hall where stray dogs would be kenneled and processed in a separate building. Saddlemire also said that Salisbury has up-to-date knowledge on rabies shots.

“She’ll be around town,” said Barber. “Best part: She’s available.”

At the meeting, town attorney Javid Afzali stated that Salisbury is related to an elected official. Her father is highway superintendent and deputy supervisor, Gary Salisbury. Afzali said that there would not be a conflict of interest because Gary Salisbury would not have any control over the position of dog control officer.

“I think having having a dog-groomer 300 feet away from the town hall is a great idea for a DCO,” said Lefkaditis.

Cheryl Baitsholts is currently serving as a dog-control officer for Knox on a contractual basis after Louis Saddlemire resigned from the position last year, citing conflicts with the town supervisor. Baitsholts is also the dog-control officer for Berne and Rensselaerville where she lives and houses stray dogs.

Groomingtales

Salisbury’s shop would include appointments with herself to groom a dog as well as self-washing stations where owners can wash their own dogs in a “bay” with soap and water provided for a fee.

“I know that there’s a need for it,” she told the planning board last week, explaining that in this muddy time of year customers may want a cheaper option than paying a groomer without dirtying their sinks or bathtubs. She said bays also let customers wash their dogs when all her time slots are booked.

Salisbury told the planning board her staff usually consists of herself and occasionally someone brought in to help bathe the dogs.

Salisbury also told the board that she hopes to move her shop into the building in January and reopen in April. She currently operates off of the Schoharie Turnpike in Duanesburg. The board agreed to hold a public hearing on Jan. 24 at 7:45 p.m..

The planning board had some questions, about kenneling — Salisbury said she doesn’t hold any dogs before an appointment — and about parking, and water usage — Salisbury said are were adequate amounts of both.

Salisbury became interested in grooming while studying animal behavior at the State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, she said. She had originally been interested in becoming a veterinarian before she learned how much veterinarian school would cost, she told The Enterprise.

“I knew I needed to figure out a way to pay for vet school,” she said. But, after becoming a groomer, she decided she enjoyed grooming on its own. “Once I started grooming, I fell in love with it,” she said.

Salisbury said that there is no license required to be a dog groomer, so she seeks out courses and training on her own. Every year, Salisbury travels to a grooming exposition in Hershey, Pennsylvania where she attends seminars to learn more about grooming, she said.

She first took online courses and then started an “externship” at a dog-grooming parlor in a retail store. After being trained there, she was able to work under supervision before working on her own.

Salisbury said that working in the retail store felt like working in a factory. She used to see three or four dogs over the course of three or four hours, with dogs sometimes waiting for three hours in the kennel.

Salisbury opened her own shop, Groomingtales, in 2015. Running her own grooming parlor, she said, she endeavors to make it the opposite of her experience at a “big-box” groomer; she does not overbook so dogs do not have to wait long, and she does not put dogs in a kennel when they do have to wait. Dogs will be groomed in an hour or two. The result she says is a much calmer atmosphere.

“They actually look forward to come to see me,” she said of the dogs.

Salisbury oversees her business mostly on her own, although she has hired a part-time bather for help in the evenings. Since she had a baby three months ago, she limits her hours to 5 to 9 p.m. on weekdays — except for Fridays, which are typically from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. On weekends, she is open from 10 a.m. to either 4 or 6 p.m.

The best part: “I get to play with puppies all day,” she said.

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