Illinois is on the path to soon be the 21st state to enact a “Puppy Lemon Law”.
This is a consumer protection law that guards against unknowingly buying a dog or cat with expensive, health problems from pet store. (Breeders and shelters are exempt). The pet store owner must disclose to the buyer any known diseases, vaccines, and the name and address of the breeder. The bill says that if a licensed veterinarian deems the animal unfit or the animal dies within 21 days of the purchase, the owner has some recourse. He may return the animal for a refund or he may exchange the animal for a well one. He also may get up to the price of the animal in approved, veterinary bills. In addition, he may return the animal within a year if it has congenital or hereditary conditions. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is in favor of this bill.
Here is a link to the Illinois “Puppy Lemon Law” (SB 1639)
Twenty other states already have “Puppy Lemon Laws”. These laws generally require conditions and terms that reputable breeders have always done. They try to assure some level of health of the animal and recourse for the buyer if the animal is sick. Each of the twenty states has variations in the time terms, but all states offer an exchange or refund for a “defective” animal. Some states allow for recovery of veterinary expenses. The recovery is generally equal to the cost of the animal. (California offers a possible 150% of the purchase price. New Jersey offers a possible 200%.) In general, there is a window of between 7 and 21 days for the return of a sick animal. Fifteen states also include cats.
Here is a link to Michigan State University College of Law’s overview of the Puppy Lemon Laws by state.
Check the chart to see if your state has a “Puppy Lemon Law” and how it compares with the other nineteen states.
Ohio, we have no “Puppy Lemon Law” neither to protect consumers nor to require decent, adequate care from all breeders. We have a lot of work to do to enact stronger protections for our companion animals.
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