Several states have recently enacted puppy lemon laws, which hold pet stores, and sometimes breeders, financially liable for selling sick pets to customers. The puppy lemon laws require sellers to disclose certain information to buyers before purchasing a pet, such as:
- Animal’s health, including health certificate and immunization records
- Animal’s age
- Animal’s history, such as where the animal was bred
To date, the only states that have puppy lemon laws are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.
Puppy lemon laws have many provisions that protect animal owners and allow the buyers to get a refund for the sick puppy or to trade the sick puppy in for a healthy puppy. Puppy owners that live in states with puppy lemon laws have many choices, including:
- Right to return the puppy for a refund
- Right to trade in for a healthy puppy
- Right to reimbursement for any veterinary costs
Most puppy lemon laws limit the time that a puppy owner can exercise his rights under the law. Typically, the owner has 1-2 weeks to return the animal or seek reimbursement, unless the animal is suffering from a congenital disorder. The owner will need to provide a statement from a veterinarian regarding the puppy’s illness.
Most puppy lemon laws apply to dogs and cats.
Lemon laws can be complex and often frustrating to understand. To make matters worse, puppy lemon laws vary from state to state. An experienced products and services attorney will know how to get the results you want, and bring a lawsuit on your behalf if needed.