Pet Lemon Law Ignores the Pet

By isak, June 3, 2009

Somehow I have trouble getting my head around certain aspects of a “pet lemon law” that Connecticut House Republican Fred Camillo has introduced and which has received passage. I feel it is tantamount to a death sentence for a pet who may be only slightly marred. Specifically, here is what I have a problem with:

Consumers would have 20 days to return a dog or cat that is sick at the time of the sale. The bill also gives consumers 6 months to recognize that a dog or cat has a congenital defect that adversely affects or will adversely affect the health of such dog or cat and return that animal under the same “pet lemon law.”

I don’t think “sick” is specified well enough. Likely, any animal returned under a “pet lemon law” will be discarded by the seller as damaged goods when in fact the pet might be fixable with medical treatment. In the case where a pet dies from pre-existing health issues, I believe the buyer should be compensated — their money returned. And I understand that a buyer is not expecting to be strapped with a mountain of expenses after they have paid for a pet, but my position is that the pet deserves as much consideration as the buyer. I am offended by the association Mr. Camillo makes between a pet and a car: “… just like car consumers, pet owners should have the same protections.” Like a CAR consumer?

Does this man even have a pet?

Here’s the article in it’s entirety from Mr. Camillo’s website:

Hartford – With the help of bi-partisan coalition State Rep. Fred Camillo introduced and received passage on a pet lemon law that will protect those who buy pets.

Reps. Fred Camillo (R-Cos Cob), Diana Urban (D-Stonington), Annie Hornish (D-Granby), Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. (R-Norwalk) and Brian Hurlburt (D-Tolland) co-introduced the House amendment, which expands the protection for people who buy from a pet shop a dog or cat that is ill or dies shortly after the sale.
“As an animal lover I know firsthand the expense of taking care of a pet and just like a car consumers, pet owners should have the same protections,” said Rep. Camillo, a member of the legislature’s Environment Committee.

Rep. Camillo said, “Common sense legislation for Connecticut residents can be passed when both political parties work together.”

SB-499, An Act Concerning A Pet Lemon Law And The Release Of Rabies Vaccination Records To Animal Control Officers, requires dogs or cats that pet shops or kennel licensees sell to have certificates of origin that identify specific information on anyone who had custody of the animal before sale,. Also a licensed veterinarian, upon request of the chief animal control officer (ACO) to provide the officer with a copy of a rabies certificate and any associated rabies vaccination records for a dog or cat that has bitten a person or another animal. Veterinarians who refuse to provide a copy commit an infraction.

Consumers would have 20 days to return a dog or cat that is sick at the time of the sale. The bill also gives consumers 6 months to recognize that a dog or cat has a congenital defect that adversely affects or will adversely affect the health or such dog or cat and return that animal under the same “pet lemon law.”
The bill also requires dogs or cats that pet shops or kennel licensees sell have certificates of origin that identify specific information on anyone who had custody of the animal before sale and provide a copy of that to the consumer. It also states that “no pet shop licensee shall purchase a dog or cat from a breeder that is not licenses from by the USDA.

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the clarification. You have a very legitmate concern. While there absolutely was no mention or intent to “discard” any animal who may have a congenital defect, your question is avery good one. I missed it on the first read.

    The intent was 1) to ban out of state importation of puppy mill dogs; and 2) to discourage instate puppy mills by serving notice to the breders that they will not profit from the practice.

    I would have liked the bill to have been even stronger but it would not have passed. Hence, it was a bill that improved the situation. I will keep working to address other areas, though [with] legislatures, nothing is either easy, or guaranteed.

    I just saw your [response] because I don’t check this blog often ( it came to me through a Google alert). If you send me an email I willbe able to respond quickly to questions and concerns.

    Best,

    Fred

  2. isak says:

    Thank you for your comment. However, I think you missed the point of my post. I make no mention of the interstate transfer of dogs from breeders — whether they are legitimate breeders or puppymill breeders. I would personally like to see a hiatus from dog and cat breeding period so we could address the population of dogs and cats we have in shelters and foster homes. I leave the arguments about the vet proposed exam requirements, certifications, and kennel licensee limits to groups like the American Kennel Club who understand the ramifications of those proposals better than me. You see, I am not a breeder. I am at the other end of the process — I am a rescuer.

    Rather, my comment has to do with a dog of questionable health. Seems that once the dog’s forehead is stamped as “sick,” he/she is merely tossed aside. I buy a box of cereal, I open it and it is stale. I return it to the store, get my refund and they toss the box of cereal into the trash. Someone buys a puppy. After a few weeks or a couple months, the puppy becomes ill — perhaps it was bought with a pre-existing condition or perhaps it developed the condition while in it’s new home. It’s returned. Pure and simple.

    But what becomes of the returned puppy? Because they are a commodity, their life is practically meaningless in the scheme of business. As such, they are disposable. That concerns me.

    The last time I had a dog of a specific breed was as a small child. For forty-some years I have only had the “accidents” and the “rescues” from other people’s irresponsibilities. Many people ride past a dog on the side of the road and say, “I hate when people dump a dog like that.” I am the person who stops. I respect that they have life, too.

    Your bill seems to have missed that critical point to my thinking. We are just in different places looking at this from different points of view.

    I hope this clarifies my intent.

  3. Dear Sir or Madame,

    Your post was forwarded to me by someone who had the same reaction I had: Why would someone attack legislation that discourages the importation of dogs from out of state puppy mills? I am quite surprised by your view of this as we took great pains to solicit opinions from many people.

    As for me, to answer your question: I have had dogs since I was a little boy as well as goats,ducks, chickens, etc….I also worked for five years to establish a dog park in my hometown amidst some strong opposition by neighborhood activists. The park has been a success, proving what we advocated all along.

    Hence, your remarks that I am somehow not caring for animals is shocking. You really should do your research before making such statements.

    As for the specifics of what you oppose, the bill does specify what being “sick” is. That is, specifically, congenital defects. Again, it is to combat something I have seen firsthand when I rescued German Shepherds that were from puppy mills.

    Lastly, the car analogyis something I heard someone say during this process. In retrospect, I see your point. Cars are replaceable, our best friends are not. Hence, I concede that point, but still contend the bill is a good one. I will be working on more aninal friendly legislation in the future and welcome your views. You have my website address. My personal email address is acamillo@gmail,com , for anyone wanting to send me a thought about any issue.

    Best,

    Fred Camillo

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