New Jersey Consumer Law for Dog and Cat Lovers
Pet Purchase Protection Act (“PPPA”)
Dogs and cats are cherished members of our families. What happens when you bring home your puppy or kitten for the first time from the pet shop or breeder and they are ill? I know from first-hand experience as this happened with my Golden Retriever puppy.
By this time, you already have an emotional attachment to the new member of your family and simply returning the puppy or kitten is not an option. What do you do? New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act has the answer to the several thousands of dollars you have spent on veterinary hospital bills and possibly even the tragic loss of your puppy or kitten.
New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act has a subsection entitled the Pet Purchase Protection Act (“PPPA”). This Act is also known as the Puppy Lemon Law or the Pet Lemon Law. The PPPA provides that pet shop owners and breeders, within five days of offering the pet for sale, must:
- have the pet examined by a licensed New Jersey veterinarian, and the examination must be repeated where the veterinarian has not examined the pet within fourteen days. The veterinarian’s name and address and findings must be disclosed to the consumer.
- Disclose on the animal’s cage the sex, breed, date and place of birth, the name of the veterinarian along with his or her address.
Where the animal has been diagnosed with a contagious or infectious disease prior to sale, it must be separated from the animal population of the pet shop or breeder and cannot be sold unless a New Jersey licensed veterinarian finds the animal to be fit for sale.
If an animal dies or becomes sick due to a non-congenital condition within 14 days of the sale and if a veterinarian certifies within 14 days of the sale that the animal is unfit for purchase or if the animal dies from causes other than an accident, then the consumer has recourse under the PPPA.
If an animal becomes sick or dies within 180 days of purchase due to a congenital or hereditary disease, and if a veterinarian certifies to this within the 180 days, then the consumer has recourse under the PPPA.
Unfortunately, the recourse available under the PPPA does not cover the emotional toll that a sick puppy or kitten has taken on your family. My Golden Retriever puppy was in a veterinary hospital for 5 days and it was questionable at first whether he would survive.
While the PPPA does not provide us with the answer to the emotional damage that your family has suffered, the consumer does have the right to return the pet and receive a full refund of the purchase price plus the reimbursement of veterinarian fees or the right to retain the animal and to receive a reimbursement for veterinarian fees. In the case where the animal has died, the consumer is entitled to the full reimbursement of the purchase price for the puppy or kitten and for the veterinarian fees.
Depending on the circumstances and the history of the pet shop or breeder, a violation of the PPPA may result in a temporary or permanent loss of license for the pet shop or breeder. New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs governs the licensure of pet shops and breeders.
In most situations you will not have to initiate legal action against the pet shop or breeder to resolve your case. Most pet shops or breeders will want to settle as a legal matter could impact their license and harm their reputation.
Fortunately, I was able to resolve my case with my breeder, and my Golden Retriever is now 2 years old and healthy. However, if you are not an attorney, I do not recommend that you attempt to directly handle your matter with the breeder or pet shop. An experienced consumer law attorney will help you navigate the issues and will attempt to resolve your case with the best possible outcome given the circumstances.
If you have any questions regarding the PPPA or consumer law in general, contact the Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC for a free consultation.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
Please be advised that this blog is for informational purposes only, is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC
is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
Call (609) 585-0606 or click the button below to schedule an appointment