New York Pet Lemon Laws for Dogs

Cat getting check up

Understanding New York’s Pet Purchaser Protection Laws:

New York’s laws related to the sale of dogs and cats exist to protect consumers and to ensure that animals sold within the state are healthy and receive proper care.

Consumers who purchase a dog from a pet dealer have three options if the animal is declared unfit by a licensed veterinarian within a given period:

  1. Return the animal: Consumers can return their pet to the dealer and receive a full refund, including sales tax, as well as reimbursement for the cost of having the animal certified unfit.
  2. Exchange the animal: They can exchange the animal for another one of similar value and receive reimbursement for having the original dog certified as unfit.
  3. Keep the animal: They may keep the dog and receive reimbursement for veterinary costs associated with treating it for the disease or defect. Reimbursement is capped at the purchase price of the animal.

What to know about New York’s Pet Purchaser Protection Laws:

Time frame:

  • Consumers have 14 business days from the time of the purchase or 14 days from the time they receive the notice of their rights, whichever comes latest, to have a veterinarian examine the dog and certify it as unfit.
  • Consumers have 180 days to have the dog declared unfit due to a congenital malady.
  • Consumers have three days after receiving the certification to provide the seller with the documents showing a veterinarian has certified the animal as unfit.
  • Sellers have 120 days to provide consumers with registration paperwork for dogs sold as registered or registrable.
  • Sellers have 10 business days after receiving the veterinarian’s certification to issue a refund or reimbursement.

Documents: New York law requires pet dealers to provide consumers with a variety of documents related to the dog they are selling. The purchaser must sign to certify receipt of these documents. Consumers should be cautious of dealers who neither know about nor agree to provide these documents.

  • A written form that lists the dog’s breed, coloring and markings, date of birth, the breeder or source where dog was obtained, a vaccination record and a statement signed by the seller indicating the dog is free of disease, illness and congenital or hereditary conditions that would affect its health.
  • If the dog was sold as a registered pure breed or as registrable, the seller must provide appropriate registration paperwork.
  • Written notice of consumer rights under New York’s pet purchase protection act.
  • Information about the benefits of spaying or neutering pets.

Definitions: New York law defines a pet dealer as anyone who sells more than nine dogs to the public for a profit in one year. Humane societies and other rescue shelters are exempt from this law, as are hobby breeders. To be classified as a hobby breeder, the seller must breed and raise all animals they sell on their residential property and cannot sell more than 25 animals in one year.

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