A judge has rejected an Arizona salon owner's claims that her constitutional rights were violated when cosmetology regulators forced her to stop offering pedicures that use fish to nibble the dead skin off people's feet.
Vong opened a fish spa within her nail salon in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert in October 2008. She invested about $40,000 into remodeling, new equipment and the fish used for those particular pedicures, but was forced to close that part of her business nearly a year later.
The closure was prompted by the state Board of Cosmetology's conclusion that the practice was illegal because the fish were an unsafe tool for skin exfoliation that couldn't be sanitized in between uses.
The Board said that fish pedicures carry a risk of transmitting infectious disease. The board further stated that its decision to prohibit fish pedicures is based on its belief that "because the fish cannot be disinfected and because they remove skin and can cause bleeding, fish pedicures create a risk that customers will be exposed to harmful bacteria and serious diseases."
The Goldwater Institute is an organization that supports protecting freedom and prosperity. The group stood behind Vong in court paying for the lawsuit and said they will do it again if she decides to appeal.
Goldwater Institute staff attorney Christina Sandefur issued the following statement in the wake of the judge's ruling:
Fish pedicures are popular in Asia and spread to some U.S. cities in recent years. But Texas, Washington, Massachusetts and New Hampshire have outlawed the practice.
"Leaving behind oppressive government in Vietnam, Cindy Vong came to the United States to pursue the American Dream, opening up her own salon and offering the state's first spa fish "pedicures," a unique service in which tiny, toothless fish nibble dead skin off customers' feet. We are disappointed that the court has upheld the Board of Cosmetology's arbitrary decision to completely ban spa fish, despite the fact that it allows and regulates other, much riskier spa procedures.
"The Goldwater Institute remains committed to protecting one of the most cherished constitutionally protected rights: the right of entrepreneurs like Cindy Vong to earn an honest living. We will continue to fight on behalf of hard-working American business people like Cindy."
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation) contributed to this report.
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 2:54 AM EDT2013-05-18 06:54:01 GMT
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department. More >
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 11:00 PM EDT2013-05-18 03:00:58 GMT
A masked man barged into a local marijuana dispensary and robbed two people at gunpoint. It happened at 10:45 a.m. Thursday morning at the Relief Medical Marijuana Facility on Southeast 122nd near Glisan.More >
An armed robber held a gun to the back of a woman's head and threatened to shoot her if he didn't get marijuana. More >
Wednesday, May 15 2013 2:57 PM EDT2013-05-15 18:57:11 GMT
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well. An Arizona bakery was featured on Friday's episode of the Gordon RamseyMore >
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 4:23 PM EDT2013-05-17 20:23:49 GMT
A SWAT team serving a search warrant in Vancouver arrested two men on charges of rape and unlawful imprisonment.Sergio Leon, 21, and Aaron-Blair Davey, 24, were taken into custody in connection with aMore >
Two men accused of holding a woman down and raping her were arrested in a raid at a Vancouver home yesterday. More >
Friday, May 17 2013 4:10 PM EDT2013-05-17 20:10:42 GMT
SWAT teams arrested three men accused of pointing a loaded gun at a black man at a Vancouver bar and threatening to kill him. Brent Luyster, 32, and his brother Robert Luyster, 31, were both taken intoMore >
SWAT teams arrested three men accused of pointing a loaded gun at a man at a Vancouver bar and threatening to kill him because of his race.More >
One of Alaska's most restless volcanoes has shot an ash cloud 15,000 feet into the air in an ongoing eruption that has drawn attention from a nearby community but isn't expected to threaten air traffic.More >
One of Alaska's most restless volcanoes shot an ash cloud 15,000 feet into the air Friday in an ongoing eruption that is visible for miles when the weather allows.More >