Regardless of who sells these dogs the consumer is not protected by any puppy lemon law. I believe the preponderance of online sellers are a wide amalgam that can include classified advertisers, pet store owners, or breeders that may buy from dog auctions.
Let’s use Zoey as an example. Even after we bought and brought her home, Zoey was being advertised on numerous Internet sites (picture above), classified ads in newspapers, a NYC pet store and then the kennel owner/breeder in Missouri.
I know she’s adorable and lovable but come on – she was being used for a “bait and switch” since the advertisers knew she was no longer for sale.
The study took a look at 10 different puppy contracts that are used in the sale of an animal. Of these “contracts,” none appeared to be legal. However, since Missouri has yet to enact a Lemon Law for breeders or retailers, the determination of a seller’s guilt or responsibilities would be up to a jury of peers rather than stipulated by the government. The following are some of the more notable parts of these “contracts” that I found worthy of sharing:
– 8 of the 10 contracts required buyers of a fatally ill puppy to send their dead puppy back to the kennel for a replacement. The owner of the dead puppy is required to pay for the shipment of the dead animal as well as cost of shipping the new “healthy” puppy. I understand that to the breeders, this is a business. But stipulations like this make me this question their decency and morality – a dog isn’t the same as a pair of shoes that one orders online that didn’t fit right. If Zoey had died during her stay in ICU, I just can’t even imagine having to pack her little, dead, lifeless body into a cardboard box, tape up your new family member and then ship it back to Missouri to prove your dog actually died.
– 9 out of the 10 contracts would not reimburse the buyers for vet costs even if they did buy a demonstrably sick puppy.
– 4 of the contracts indicated that if the buyer were to sue, the suit had to filed in the county where the breeder was located. In our case, had Zoey passed away, we didn’t live in New York (which has a Lemon Law) and we had sought restitution, we would have had to travel to Hickory County, Missouri, to which Wheatland is a major financial contributor.
😉 Next post: Enforcement of USDA rules and regulations