Just in time for National Puppy Mill Awareness Day (September 17th) comes this story out of Michigan. In Lansing, a lawmaker proposed legislation that would require for-profit pet sellers to offer a "warranty" for their wares: i.e., puppies and kittens.

According to a DVM Newsmagazine piece,

Pet owners in Michigan may soon have the opportunity to "return" sick or diseased animals to their place of purchase if proposed legislation passes.

Senate Bill 547, introduced Aug. 24 and immediately referred to the committee on regulatory reform, would apply only to dogs and cats sold from pet shops, breeders or other places where pets are sold for profit.

According to legislation, pet owners may return an animal for full price, exchange the animal for one of equal value, or be reimbursed for any veterinary expenses as long as they don’t exceed the original purchase price of the animal. If the animal dies, the owner is entitled to a replacement plus reimbursement of veterinary fees, as long as they don’t exceed the original purchase price, or a full refund, according to legislation.

If passed, the law would apply when a veterinarian states in writing that the animal displayed symptoms of a contagious or infectious disease 30 days from purchase and that the disease or illness existed at the time of sale or when a veterinarian states in writing that the dog or cat has died or is sick from a hereditary or congenital defect.

OK, so that’s just plain basic consumer protection. It’s nothing any well-run, responsible seller shouldn’t do as a matter of course. I expect nothing less when I shop at Macy’s, for example.

Nonetheless, detractors within the pet shop industry are predictably crying foul and are suggesting that shelters and rescue organizations should be treated to the same scrutiny. As if for-profit pet shops and the vast majority of rescues and shelters are comparable ventures.

Drives me batty. And leads me back to one of my fundamental tenets: While there is no way to legislate common sense, there should always be a legal way to support best practices.

What’s your take? Is it right to require warranties on animals as products, or is it just another example of over-reaching regulation gone awry?

Dr. Patty Khuly

Pic of the day: Cavalier King Charles Puppies at the Pet Store in Astoria 2 by ChrisGoldNY

 pet store puppy, pet sales, consumer protection for pet owners