I bought a kitten at a pet store in early April. The kitten soon after the purchase displayed symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. I took her to the vet and they told me that this is quite common with store bought pets. I spent the rest of this month treating my kitten with antibiotics and she even stayed at the hospital for 2 days. Still sick, I took her home and took care of her but she stopped eating and was very ill. She died this past Thursday. What are my rights at this point? I contacted the pet shop but looks like they are giving me the run around. Thank you for any advice.
I am so sorry for your loss. Consumers who purchase an animal from a pet store and certain breeders can sue to try to get reimbursed for veterinary expenses incurred in treating the sick animal. Under New York State’s pet sale law, if within 14 business days following the sale of an animal by a pet dealer (180 days for congenital defects), a veterinarian certifies the animal to be unfit for purchase, the consumer has the right "… to receive reimbursement from a pet dealer for veterinary services from a licensed veterinarian of the consumer's choosing, for the purpose of curing or attempting to cure the animal. The reasonable value of reimbursable services rendered to cure or attempting to cure the animal shall not exceed the purchase price of the animal.” The law also requires purchasers to follows other requirements, including, for example, providing the seller with the veterinary certification within three business days following receipt. Important to note is that there are other laws, such as the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which provide remedies to consumers who purchase sick animals from merchants. The UCC essentially provides remedies when goods (including animals) are sold by merchants when such goods are not merchantable (fit for sale). This law does not contain the same time or other restrictions as in the pet sale law. Some New York courts have held that “the proper measure of damages in a case involving injury suffered by a pet animal is the reasonable and necessary cost of reasonable veterinary treatment.” Also, the New York State Attorney General’s Office has established an Animal Protection Initiative and has obtained restitution for some consumers.
Send Your Pet Legal Question Now!
Elinor will field as many questions as she can and they will be posted here on this site. Due to the volume of questions received, not all questions are answered. However, many individuals have similar questions. You may find helpful information in the categories listed below.