Our state has specific laws in place to protect dog owners from being conned or harmed by breeders.

If you purchase a puppy from a breeder or pet store, California’s Puppy Lemon Law gives owners legal protections in the event the animal becomes seriously ill or dies shortly after they bring it home.

This law, formally known as the  Pet Breeder Warranty Act, was put in place after numerous consumers bought dogs who had congenital or hereditary defects. This is the ugly truth behind the adorable purebred puppies on breeder websites and in pet store kennels; many of these animals are inbred due to the high demand and effort to meet breed standards. On top of that, the female dogs in these facilities birth litters back-to-back to meet this high demand, and this often results in malnourished and unhealthy puppies.

Despite the inhumane setting of the puppy’s birth, they will be sold to ignorant consumers at full price. This is why a law is in place for situations where the puppy dies due to an illness or disease that existed within 15 days of purchase. Product liability attorneys can also fight to get a refund when other health issues arise in the first year of owning the dog due to a congenital or hereditary condition.

Under this law, you can get your money back from the breeder in addition to coverage of half your veterinary costs. You can also return the dog and get a full refund or a different dog of equivalent value. In this situation, you’d also be entitled to reimbursement of “reasonable” veterinary costs.

In the event the puppy is so unhealthy that it dies, you are entitled to a refund of the purchase price or another dog of the same value, and your vet costs are covered up to 100%.

These laws only apply to commercial breeders and pet stores, and you cannot get these protections for a dog purchased from a rescue organization or non-commercial shelter.

If you find yourself in this situation, you may want a personal injury attorney to further explain your rights as a dog buyer. Our attorneys are just a phone call away at (949) 203-5780.