What Is The Pet Lemon Law?
It is not uncommon to see lawsuits in which a one sues for the sale of a sick or maimed animal, or an animal that is not the species as it was originally claimed to be. A dishonest person may sell an animal under false pretenses - giving the impression that the animal being sold is healthy, protected from future diseases, and/or that the animal is part of a breed that it really isn't. To protect pet consumers from dishonest sellers, pet lemon laws put forth standards of sale to ensure the health and species of the animal purchased. Anyone who sells more than twenty animals a year to the public is subject to follow pet lemon laws. This includes dealers, breeders, individuals, firms, corporations, and any other associations. Although, breeders, individuals, firms, corporations, and associations who sell animals to dealers only, do not fall under the pet lemon laws.
In the event that a customer unknowingly purchases a sick or maimed animal, or an animal that is not the species as originally claimed to be, that animal is called a "lemon." To prevent the sale and ownership of "lemons," pet lemon laws state that animals sold to customers must be certified. An animal's certification declares that the sold animal is healthy, vaccinated, and is the breed claimed by the person selling the animal. For proper certification, pet lemon laws require that an animal's certification comes from a licensed, accredited veterinarian only.
Other conditions in pet lemon laws may require that an animal be eight weeks old or older, vaccinated for rabies and other diseases prior to being sold. Depending on the age of the animal, these procedures (such as de-worming and vaccination) are performed within twenty one days to one full year of the animal's purchase date. The official veterinary certificate of inspection will list which vaccinations are required. Pet lemon laws may also require additional testing for heartworm and/or leukemia as well as coccidiosis, and ear mites. Testing for unhealthy conditions may occur within twenty one days prior to the animal's sale.
Some state's pet lemon laws may require that an animal may or may not need to be free of fleas and ticks to be salable. And should an animal's vaccination and/or de-worming medication (anthelmintic) be determined too dangerous to administer to the animal, a veterinarian does not have to issue it. However, to protect the interest of the consumer, the veterinarian must declare on its certificate that the medications would do more harm than good.
If you feel that you have been sold a "lemon," take the animal to a veterinarian for testing. Keep all records of the veterinarian's analysis and should testing reveal illness(es), return to the person from whom you purchased the animal. Ask that the seller pay for the animal's treatment. Keep a record of all the payments you have made to restore the animal to a healthy state, so that if the animal's seller refuses to cooperate then, you may take the seller to small claims court to get your medical funds reimbursed.