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Issue Background

Consumer Protection/”Puppy Lemon Laws”

No matter the source, buying a dog can be a rewarding process. It can also be risky. That’s why the American Kennel Club supports reasonable laws and regulations intended to protect the pet-buying public in obtaining a sound dog of the breed represented. Breeders and/or sellers, including pet stores, should be responsible for providing certain refunds, replacements, or reimbursements should the dog sold become ill or die from a condition contracted prior to the purchase. Such remedies should be conditioned upon the buyer’s scrupulous adherence to the care and feeding program prescribed by the breeder and/or seller, as well as a timely examination by a state licensed veterinarian. Breeders and/or sellers should provide buyers with a written bill of sale detailing the responsibilities of both the buyer and seller. This bill of sale should also detail any exclusions to refunds, replacements, or reimbursements. 

When consumers cannot acquire a pet that is an appropriate fit for their lifestyle, that animal is more likely to end up in the shelter system.  A better solution is to ensure that consumers are educated, understand the demands of responsible ownership, and have access to a variety of pets so that they can make educated choices. 

Laws should also protect consumers’ rights to buy a pet from the humane source they believe appropriate for their needs, which includes directly from responsible breeders, through pet stores that source dogs from responsible breeders, from purebred rescue operations, and humanely-operated animal shelters.  

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