Highly Experienced In Show Animal Matters

Puppy Lemon Laws Apply To Show Dogs Too

Dogs are an expensive proposition these days. While there is the cost of shots and food, there is also the price of a dog from a particularly desirable bloodline. For these dogs, the cost can be in the thousands if there are champions in the animal's genealogy. The pet purchase protection or "Puppy Lemon Laws" were drafted in the 1970s in response of large puppy mills that bred dogs in unhealthy or cruel conditions and then sold them on a wholesale level to retailers. These dogs sometimes had serious health problems.

Florida and many other states have pet sale provisions that the breeder may not knowingly misrepresent the breed, sex or health of the dog. This is generally not an issue for the average American Kennel Club (AKC) registered dog, who has been bred by conscientious breeders who have dedicated their lives to advancing different breeds of dog. However, not everyone adheres to this standard of ethics. So dog-show quality breeders are also held to the same "Puppy Lemon Laws" if a veterinarian determines that the dog was unfit to be sold or did not meet the standards promised in a contract.

What A Reputable Breeder Offers

Potential pet owners interested in showing dogs or having the animal participate in other competitions for agility, hunting, herding or other competitions still need to be careful. The reputable breeder will be clear about a puppy's prospects as a potential show dog competitor versus a pet. Moreover, championship level is not the same as a top champion. Even dogs from the same litter will vary in price depending different traits considered desirable for the show ring, including markings, size, disposition, gender and health. Some will best in show win and some will not. Purchase contracts for top-quality show dogs will guarantee the animal's ancestry, registration and breeding rights.

If something goes wrong or is in dispute, the "lemon law" is still applicable to your dog. The breeder must refund the money or replace the dog with an animal that meets or surpasses the agreed upon standard. Due to the money involved with top-tier show dogs, reputable breeders' guarantees often surpass that of the state laws where the dog is purchased. These can include guarantees for health issues tied to a particular breed, such as hip dysplasia with larger breeds.

Get It In Writing

The buyer and the seller should always discuss these different guarantees (including deposits and potential refunds) up front and then put it in writing. If the breeder does not honor the agreement, fails to provide a contract, or there is some other dispute over the sale of the dog, an attorney who is well-versed in the transactional laws involving dogs or other animals can be a tremendous asset in resolving the issue. As with any other contract dispute, this can happen in court or through negotiation.

Source:  Petyak.com, "Purebred Puppy Contracts -- Breeder Guarantees and Obligations",  accessed April 29, 2018. By David

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