A "Pet Lemon Law" has been introduced in Michigan to offer consumer protections for purchasers of dogs, cats and ferrets. Under S.B. 348, people who purchase sick or diseased animals from pet shops, breeders or dealers would have specific recourse against the sellers.
Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan applauds Sen. Steve Bieda (D-Warren) for leading S.B. 348, which would offer options for the purchaser, including returning the animal for a full refund and replacement or recovery of veterinary expenses. The bill includes specific time frames for reporting illnesses, maximum amounts a buyer can recover, and provisions for congenital defects in the purchased animals.
The full text of S.B. 348 can be found here: http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?2013-SB-0348
Last year Liz Frates purchased 16 week old Yorkshire Terrier from a Michigan breeder for $1,200 cash. She was told the puppy was healthy. The full written pet guarantee against anything congenital or hereditary did not help Liz in court, after the yorkie was diagnosed with grade 2 luxating patellas in both legs - congenital defect requiring surgery close to $3,200. Liz had already spent $900 in veterinary costs addressing the puppy’s breathing and diarrhea problems.
In Michigan, consumers often rely on the Better Business Bureau to settle disputes with pet stores. Other times they end up in small claims court, which places a heavy burden on the purchaser to prove that the seller was aware of a pre-existing condition in the purchased animal.
Puppy Mill Awareness has been logging sick dog complaints and advocating for consumers by providing counseling and a checklist including agencies who may respond to complaints. That checklist can be found here: http://files.meetup.com/1258100/SickPuppyChecklistv8.doc
This bill will not only protect consumers, but will help shine a light on the puppy mill / pet store connection and make the industry less profitable to pump sick animals into the community.
By signing the petition, you can directly let your representatives know that you support this law.