Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
12 March 2000 Issue

"Puppy Lemon Law"
By [email protected]

This month, in Pennsylvania, Attorney General Mike Fisher announced that all dog sellers and breeders in the state are now required to post a public notice disclosing consumers' rights and responsibilities under the state's "Puppy Lemon Law." According to Fisher, "This notice makes clear what consumers should do if the dog they recently bought has a serious disease or illness." It also requires breeders to give new dog owners information regarding the animal's health and registration status. Violations of the law will result in penalties of up to $1,000 and up to $2,000 if the seller is not licensed.

While this law still allows the continued irresponsibility of companion animal reproduction, it is a step in the right direction. I say this because, while the breeders are allowed to continue to operate, the fact that they must legally disclose to all potential buyers the status of their puppies' health creates an incentive for the breeders to ensure that their animals are born and raised in an environment that is clean and healthy.

Puppy mills are infamously known to be crude, filthy environments whereby animals quickly contract life debilitating diseases. The incentive of money over the animals health and well-being is nearly eliminated, as the breeder has a legal responsibility to own up to the health status of his or her animals, otherwise facing the repercussions of financial penalties. Let's face it, no one is going to buy an animal that is obviously seriously ill. If the breeder must disclose these facts, they are going to do everything in their power to ensure that there is nothing to disclose.

I am not sure of the status of other states views on puppies and breeders, but it would be a good idea if you started researching. If you find that your state is without such legislation, start contacting your state Senators and Representatives and request that such legislation be implemented. If you need assistance in drafting letters, contact [email protected]

It is obvious that animal breeding is going to continue, at least into the near future. At the very least, we can fight to create incentives for breeders and sellers to raise their animals in safe, sanitary environments. This would be a big improvement over the conditions most puppies are currently forced to live in, and while most of us do not condone the intentional breeding of companion animals, we still must be concerned about the lives of those animals who have already been born and will be.

Don't forget about the cats and kittens. They need to be involved in this legislation too!

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