Purchasing a Pet? Know Your Rights
The kitten in the window or the puppy in the barn may look all cute and cuddly, but when purchasing an animal from a pet dealer, many often don’t ask all of the questions they should.
In New Jersey, a pet dealer must provide you with a wide array of information regarding the history and health of the animal. Among the information and documents that must be provided by law are:
- The animal’s complete history
- A certificate attesting to its health
- The animal’s age, breed, sex and birth date
- From whom/where the dealer purchased the pet as well as when possession occurred
- The name and address of the licensed veterinarian who examined the animal and when that exam took place
- Details of the vet’s examination, findings (noted on health certificate) and any treatment provided
In addition, the pet dealer must post a warning about vaccinations the animal has or has not received and advising examination by a vet. Finally, the dealer must also display a sign that states your rights and the contact information for the Division of Consumer Affairs.
If the pet dealer fails to provide you with the registration or other necessary documents within 120 days of the sale, with written notice you are entitled to return the animal and receive a full refund, or you can elect to keep the pet and receive a 75% refund of the purchase price plus tax. The pet dealer has 10 days after getting your written notice to comply.
Further, if you buy your pet more than 14 days after the examination, the pet dealer has 72 hours to have the pet re-examined unless you sign a written waiver of this right.
Finally, if a veterinarian certifies that your pet is unfit for purchase within 14 days after you take the animal, or within 6 months in the case of a congenital or hereditary condition, you can return the pet and get a full refund of the purchase price, keep the pet and try to cure it, or return the pet and get another one of your choice that is of equal value. You may also be entitled to reimbursement of veterinarian fees up to two times the purchase price of the pet, including tax.
Bringing home a new pet is one of life’s sweeter moments. It shouldn’t be spoiled by a surprise discovery of a health concern or other issue. Make the moment a good one. Know your rights.