Puppy Lemon Laws

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feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – How much is that doggie in the window? Could be more than you bargained for.

Did you buy your kid a puppy for Christmas? Good thinking. I’m sure you won’t be the one walking it in the slush at 6 in the morning. But here’s one thing that should be your responsibility – take that puppy to the vet right away – or else it will be your financial responsibility too.

About half the states have laws designed to protect consumers from the illnesses and congenital defects that you didn’t know your puppy had before you brought it home from the pet store. And even in states that don’t have so-called puppy lemon laws specifically designed to protect pet buyers, they do have consumer protection laws that protect you from undisclosed defects that you didn’t know before you bought them.

In most cases, the puppy lemon laws provide that if you bring home a dog sick with an illness or a congenital defect, you have the right to get a refund, or exchange the dog, or get reimbursement for the vet bills that resulted from the dog’s health issues. But virtually all of those laws require the pet owner to get a certificate from the vet, many in as short as 10 days from the time you bring the dog home, certifying the illness and require you to tell the pet shop
sometimes in as few as 2 days from diagnosis in order to get your money.

Having a dog is a big responsibility, junior. And a big financial one too, Dad, so take the dog to the vet if you want to get your due (do).

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