Using Feet-Eating Fish to Perform Pedicures Isn't a Constitutional Right, Judge Rules

A Maricopa County judge has ruled that there's no constitutional right to running a pedicure business that utilized feet-sucking fish, in a legal battle between a salon owner and the state cosmetology board that's been going on since 2009.

The Goldwater Institute's lawsuit claimed that salon owner Cindy Vong's constitutional rights to due process and equal protection were violated with the state cosmetology board's ban on the "doctor fish" treatment, in which hundreds of fish suck dead skin off human feet.

See also:
-Fish Treatment at Gilbert Spa Under Scrutiny by State Cosmetology Board

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge George Foster's ruling was released today, and we're guessing he never imagined having to write up this one.

"The prohibition in this case is not as to pedicures generally and the prohibition is not as to nail technology generally," the ruling states. "The only prohibition is to the use of fish to remove dead skin from the feet of customers. Simply put, there is no fundamental Constitutional right to conducting pedicures by using fish as the implement of removal."

And there you have it.

Vong started doing the fish pedicures in October 2008 at her La Vie salon in Gilbert, using Garra Rufa fish, which don't have teeth, and Chin Chin fish, which have sharp teeth.

A customer would put their feet in water tanks with the fish, and the fish would eat/suck the dead skin off their feet for a 20-minute, $30 session.

The state's cosmetology board started investigating Vong's operation, because the procedure's not known to be very sanitary.

"Communicable diseases that might be contracted through fish pedicures include HIV and Hepatitis," according to the superior court ruling.

Vong voluntarily stopped the procedure in 2009, but challenged the ban on fishy foot pedicures, which led to today's ruling.

The entire ruling can be found here.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley