Which state law covers my transaction in regards to consumer protection and puppy health?Q:
If I bought a dog in a state that does not have a consumer protection law with regard to puppy health, and the breeder shipped a very sick animal to me, but I live in a state with consumer protection laws. With no mention in any contract as to controlling law, which state law covers the transaction and do I have any legal recourse for the vet bills?A:
State pet sale laws typically regulate in-state pet dealers. There are additional requirements governing the importation of animals from one state to another. For example, dogs and cats imported into New York are supposed to be accompanied by a health certificate signed by a veterinarian, legally qualified to practice in the state or country of origin, which indicates, among other things, that the animal has been examined and that such examination revealed no clinical evidence of an infectious or communicable disease (except parasites and fungi).
Even in the absence of a specific state pet sale law, consumers can have protection under more general consumer protection laws, such as the Uniform Commercial Code which pertains to the sale of goods generally (goods include animals) by merchants (persons who in the ordinary course of business sell the goods). Courts have awarded consumers reimbursement for veterinary expenses in cases involving the sale by a merchant of a sick animal on the grounds that the seller breached a warranty of merchantability (the animal was not fit for sale). Attorneys General may also get involved, particularly if they believe there has been fraud or deception or if a pet dealer has a history of selling sick animals. I suggest you have an attorney review your sales contract as well.
Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
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