Pennsylvania Pet Lemon Laws for Dogs

Beagle puppies with owner

Understanding Pennsylvania’s Pet Purchaser Protection Laws:

Pennsylvania’s Dog Purchaser Protection Provision is part of the state’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. The law’s purpose is to ensure that individuals who purchase dogs in Pennsylvania receive healthy animals.

Consumers who purchase a dog that dies or is certified unfit by a veterinarian within the given time frame have several options under the law:

  1. Return the dog for a full refund, excluding sales tax.
  2. Exchange the dog for another one of similar value, if another dog is available.
  3. Keep the dog and receive reimbursement for veterinary treatment to cure or correct the illness or defect. Reimbursement is capped at an amount equal to the purchase price of the dog, excluding sales tax. If the vet declares the animal cannot be cured, consumers must return or exchange the dog. They are not legally entitled to reimbursement for the cost of caring for a sick or dying animal.

If sellers do not provide advertised registration information, consumers have two choices:

  1. Return the dog for a full refund.
  2. Keep the dog and receive a refund equal to 50 percent of the purchase price.

What to know about Pennsylvania’s Pet Purchaser Protection Laws:

Time frame:

  • Consumers have 10 days from the purchase date to have the dog examined by a veterinarian to be certified as unfit, if appropriate.
  • Consumers have 30 days from the purchase date to have a veterinarian certify the dog has a congenital or hereditary defect.
  • Consumers have two days to provide the seller with the veterinarian’s certification that the dog is unfit.
  • If sellers advertise a dog as a registered or registerable purebred, they have 120 days to provide the consumer with appropriate registration information and documentation.

Documents: Pennsylvania law requires pet dealers to provide consumers with a variety of documents related to the dog they are selling. Consumers should be cautious of dealers who don’t know about or agree to provide these documents.

  • A written health record of the dog being sold that states its breed, date of birth, gender, color and markings; a list of vaccinations; and the source where the seller acquired the animal.
  • A document that guarantees the dog is in good health, meaning it is free of illnesses and congenital defects. This document can come from the seller or be issued by a veterinarian who examined the dog within the three weeks prior to the date it is sold to the consumer.
  • Sellers must provide consumers with a written summary of Pennsylvania’s pet purchaser laws at the time of the sale.

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