You have rights as a consumer if you have purchased a sick dog in Pennsylvania, even if you are not a resident of Pennsylvania. Otherwise known as the Puppy Lemon Law, this act requires financial reimbursement of veterinary expenses within a specified period of time after the sale.
The following has been taken from the attorney general’s website and summarizes the Dog Purchaser Protection Act. We strongly recommend that you read the act in its entirety.
- A seller shall provide you with a health record for the dog at the time of sale.
- The seller shall provide a health certificate issued by a veterinarian within 21 days prior to the date of sale OR a guarantee of good health issued and signed by the seller.
- To preserve your rights under the Law, you must take your newly purchased dog to a licensed veterinarian for examination within 10 days of purchase. If a veterinarian determines, within 10 days of purchase, that your dog is clinically ill or has died from an injury sustained or illness likely to have been contracted on or before the date of sale and delivery, you have the following options:
- Return the dog for a complete refund
- Return the dog for a replacement dog of equal value
- Retain the dog and receive reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees, not exceeding the purchase price. These options do not apply where a seller, who has provided a health certificate issued by a veterinarian, discloses in writing at the time of sale the health problem for which the buyer later seeks to return the dog.
- If, within 30 days of purchase, a licensed veterinarian determines that your dog has a congenital or hereditary defect which adversely affects the animal’s health or that your dog died from a congenital or hereditary defect, you have the same options as outlined in Section 3 (above).
- Within 2 business days of a veterinarian’s certification of your dog’s illness, defect or death, you must notify the seller of the name, address and telephone number of the examining veterinarian. Failure to notify the seller within 2 business days will result in forfeiture of rights.
- Refunds or reimbursements shall be made no later than 14 days after the seller receives the veterinarian certification. Veterinarian certification shall be presented to the seller not later than 5 days after you receive it.
If you find yourself in a situation where this law applies, we urge you to elect to keep the puppy and follow the procedure for medical reimbursement. This course of action will discourage unethical behavior on the part of the breeder by forcing him/her to be financially responsible and elimiating the possibility of the dog being resold. This option is also the best choice for the dog since it likely will not receive medical attention if returned to the breeder and will likely be euthanized.