The Pet Lemon Law

0 Comments Posted by tcahvet in News, Pet Safety on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013.

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What is the Pet Lemon Law?

When you purchase a dog or cat in the State of Florida, you are protected under Florida Statues 828.29, the Pet Lemon Law. Whether you buy from a Private Seller or a Pet Dealer, you have certain rights.

Know the Rules

There are two kinds of sellers: Private and Pet Dealer. A “Pet Dealer” is defined as anyone who engages in the sale of more than two litters per year or more than 20 animal per year – whichever is greater. Regardless of whether you purchase from a private person or a pet dealer, at the time of purchase:

-The dog must be at least eight weeks of age

-The dog must be given a completed copy of the Official Certification of Veterinary Inspection. The Official Certificate of Veterinary Inspection must have been signed by a licensed veterinarian no more than 30 days before your purchase.

-The dog or cat must have been vaccinated, de-wormed, and had certain tests prior to your purchase. These must have been administered by or under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian (NOT a private or pet dealer) no more than 21 days before your purchase if your dog or cat is under four months. If your pet is over four months, they must be administered no more than one year before your purchase.

Vaccines Required

For a dog: Rabies, if older than 3 months, Canine Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Leptospirosis, Round-worms, Canine Parvo, Hookworms, Bordetella. If the dog is over 6  months it must be tested for heartworms.

For a cat: Rabies if older than 3 months, Panleukopenia, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Roundworms, Calici Virus, Hookworms. All cats offered for sale must be tested for Feline Leukemia.

What Every Seller Must Do

Al sellers redardless of whether they are private or a “Pet Dealer” must:

-Retain accurate records of the Official Certificates of Veterinary Inspection for each animal sold for at least one year.

Know Your Rights

At the time of purchase, the “Pet Dealer” must provide a written or printed notice from the seller advising the buyers of their rights.

The notice shall read as following:

“It is the consumer’s right, pursuant to section 828.29, Florida Statutes, to receive a certificate of veterinary inspection with each dog or cat purchased from a pet dealer. Such certificates shall list all vaccines and de-worming medications administered to the animal and shall state that the animal has been examined by a Florida licensed veterinarian who certifies that, to the best of his knowledge, the animal was found to have been healthy at the time of the veterinary examination. In the event that the consumer purchases the animal and finds it to have been unfit for purchase as provided in section 828.29, Florida Statutes, the consumer must notify the pet dealer within two business days of the veterinarians determinations that the animal was unfit. The consumer has the right to retain, return, or exchange the animal, subject to the right of the dealer to have the animal examined by another veterinarian.”

If You Purchase Your Pet from a “Pet Dealer” You are Protected by Law

If within 14 days after you bought your pet from a “Pet Dealer” a licensed veterinarian of your choosing finds that your pet has a disease or internal or external parasites (excluding fleas or ticks). Or, If within a year after you bought your pet, a licensed veterinarian of your choosing finds that your pet has a congenital or hereditary disorder, and your veterinarian says your pet was unfit at the time of purchase. Or, If the “Pet Dealer” misrepresented the breed, sex, or health of your pet, then:

You Have the Right To:

-Return the animal and receive a refund of the purchase price, including the sales tax, and reimbursement for a reasonable veterinary costs:

1) Directly related to the veterinarian’s examination and certification that the dog or cat is unfit for purchase, and

2) Directly related to necessary emergency services and treatment undertaken to relieve suffering;

-Return the animal and receive an exchange dog or cat of the consumer’s choice of equivalent value, and reimbursement for reasonable veterinary costs:

1) Directly related to the veterinarian’s examination and certification that the dog or cat is unfit for purchase, and

2) Directly related to necessary emergency services and treatment undertaken to relieve suffering or,

-Retain the animal and receive reimbursement for reasonable veterinary costs for necessary services and treatment related to the attempt to cure or curing of the dog or cat.

-Reimbursement for veterinary costs may not exceed the purchase price of the animal. The cost of veterinary services is reasonable if comparable to the cost of similar services rendered by other licensed veterinarians in proximity to the treating veterinarian and the services rendered are appropriate for the certification by the veterinarian.

An animal may not be determined unfit for sale on account of an injury sustained or illness contracted AFTER the consumer takes possession.

If Efforts to Resolve a Problem Fail

If your efforts to resolve any problem with the “Pet Dealer” who sold you your dog or cat fail, you must:

-Keep records of all documents, i.e. your bill of sale, veterinary records, correspondance, etc.

-Notify the “Pet Dealer” within two business days of the examination by a veterinarian that the pet is unfit.

-Notify the “Pet Dealer” that the pet was unfit at time of purchase. This notofication must be a written statement for the examing veterinarian and must be received by the “Pet Dealer” within three days of the examination.

Other Avenues You May Want to Consider

-File a complaint with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Consumer Services. www.800helpfla.com

-Contact your local law enforcement agency and request that they file a sworn complaint on your behalf for violation of Florida Chapter 828.29

 

Source: The Florida Veterinary Medical Association

For a thorough list of the Pet Lemon Law visit: http://www.freshfromflorida.com/ai/main/pet_main.shtml

 

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