State senate passes bill to protect pet buyers - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

State senate passes bill to protect pet buyers

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The New York State Senate today passed a bill that would allow consumers additional protections when purchasing a pet.

The bill (S.3723B), sponsored by Senator John Flanagan (R-C-I, East Northport), would provide consumers with more information about the origins of their pet, and more protections should their pet become ill, under what is known as the "pet lemon law."

"Too many times, New York consumers welcome a pet into their home as a part of their family only to realize that the animal has a serious or fatal medical condition," said Senator Flanagan. "This legislation is aimed at helping provide these families with some reassurance that their new "family" member is healthy and, if that is not the case, provide them with an ability to recover their costs. While this legislation cannot help protect families from the sadness they will feel if an animal becomes ill, it will provide them with some needed financial protection when dealing with pet shops."

The current pet lemon law gives rights to consumers on their newly purchased pets. If a pet is diagnosed with a congenital malformation, is ill, or has a contagious infection or disease, the law covers consumers within fourteen business days. However, many times these congenital defects or illnesses do not show up in very young animals.

This new legislation would protect consumers for up to six months if the animal is diagnosed with a congenital defect or illness.

In addition, the measure calls for the pet broker's name and address, in addition to the breeder's name and address, which is already required under the law.

This bill would also require pet dealers to disclose the location where they receive their dogs. The law already provides this information for people who buy cats. This measure would also increase the minimum fines for violations from $50 to $100.

Pet shops will be required to provide consumers with a refund of the full purchase price, including any taxes, or the option to select another animal of equivalent value. The consumer shall also be provided with payment of any reasonable veterinary costs that were expended.

By fining those who sell sick animals, the legislation hopes to send a clear message to pet shops throughout the state that New York is working to make sure they operate in a humane and proper way and that those who deal sick or maltreated animals will not be tolerated.

Currently, 20 states have animal lemon laws, and 14 of them protect consumers for more than fourteen days after the purchase of a pet.

The bill will now be sent to the Assembly.

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