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Remedy for the sale of sick puppies and kittens

S. 1204, H. 1823: An Act relating to the remedy for the sale of sick puppies and kittens

MSPCA Position: Support
Sponsors: Senator Welch, Representative D. Rogers
Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government

These bills solve problems affecting young cats and dogs, in addition to families throughout the Commonwealth. This legislation is important to protect animals and consumers in our state.

What Will These Bills Do?

These bills will protect puppies, kittens, their parents and consumers by improving the Massachusetts “Puppy Lemon Law” so that families who unknowingly purchase a sick puppy have better remedies.

Citizens of the Commonwealth deserve to purchase happy, healthy, and well-adjusted puppies and kittens. This bill provides fair and reasonable recourse in the event an “unfit” puppy or kitten is sold to a consumer. Families who discover they have purchased a sick puppy regularly spend money on veterinary bills and often choose to retain the puppy or kitten rather than return to the seller – because they are attached to the animal and/or are concerned about what will happen if it is returned. Currently, the law (330 CMR 12.00) only provides that:

“(3) All licensees shall provide a substitution or a full refund of the purchase price of any dog or cat to any purchaser who:
(a) within 14 calendar days of sale has the dog or cat examined by a licensed veterinarian of his or her choice, and the examination indicates the dog or cat is diseased or has a congenital disorder; and
(b) presents the dog or cat, a veterinarian’s written statement that the dog or cat is diseased or has a congenital disorder, and proof of sale within two business days of the date of the examination.”

The current regulations do not provide for reimbursement of veterinary bills, which can run into the thousands of dollars for certain highly-transmissible illnesses such as parvovirus.

These bills would provide a modest remedy for reimbursement of up to 150% of the purchase price of the animal.

These bills provide clear remedies for customers who purchase a puppy or kitten that is subsequently deemed “unfit for purchase” by a veterinarian. Specifically:

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