|Article 35-D of the General Business Law, hereinafter referred to as “the Law”, sets forth certain
rights which arise when a consumer purchases a dog or a cat from a pet dealer. Pursuant to the
Law the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets has promulgated regulations which require a
pet dealer to provide certain information to a consumer in writing upon the sale of an animal.
Such information shall include a description, including the breed of the animal, the date of
purchase, the name, address and telephone number of the consumer and the pet dealer and the
amount of the purchase. The pet dealer shall certify such information by signing and dating the
document in which it is contained. Additionally, every pet dealer who sells an animal required to
be vaccinated against rabies, to a consumer shall provide the consumer at point of sale with a
written notice summarizing rabies immunization requirements.
The Law further provides that if, within fourteen business days following the sale of an animal
subject to this article or receipt of the written notice required by section seven hundred fifty-
four of this article, whichever occurred last, a veterinarian of the consumer's choosing,
licensed by a state certifies such animal to be unfit for purchase due to illness or the presence of
symptoms of a contagious or infectious disease, or if, within one hundred eighty calendar
days following such sale or receipt, whichever occurred last, a licensed veterinarian certifies
such animal to be unfit for purchase due to a congenital malformation which adversely affects
the health of the animal, the pet dealer shall afford the consumer the right to choose one of
the following options:
The right to return the animal and receive a refund of the purchase price including sales tax and
reasonable veterinary costs directly related to the veterinarian’s certification that the animal is unfit
for purchase; or
The right to return the animal and to receive an exchange animal of the consumer’s choice of
equivalent value and reasonable veterinary costs directly related to the veterinarian’s certification
that the animal is unfit for purchase; or
The right to retain the animal and to receive reimbursement from a pet dealer for veterinary
services from a licensed veterinarian of the consumer’s choosing, for the purpose of curing or
attempting to cure the animal. The reasonable value of reimbursable services rendered to cure or
attempting to cure the animal shall not exceed the purchase price of the animal. The value of such
services is reasonable if comparable to the value of similar services rendered by other licensed
veterinarians in proximity to treating veterinarians. Such reimbursement shall not include the costs
of initial veterinary examination, fees and diagnostic fees not directly related to the veterinarian’s
certification that the animal is unfit for purchase.
The law requires that any refund and/or reimbursement required shall be made by a pet dealer not
later than ten business days following receipt of a signed veterinary certificate as herein required.
Such certification shall be presented to the pet dealer not later than three business days following
receipt thereof by the consumer.
The Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets has prescribed a form for the certification that an
animal is unfit for purchase which shall be provided to a consumer by an examining veterinarian
upon the examination of a dog or cat subject to the Law. That form includes information which
identifies the type of animal, the owner, the date and diagnosis of the animal, the treatment
recommended, if any, and an estimate of the actual cost of such treatment. Such form also
includes this notice.
The Law provides that a veterinary finding of intestinal parasites shall not be grounds for declaring
the dog or cat unfit for sale unless the animal is clinically ill due to such condition. An animal may
not be found unfit for sale on account of an injury sustained or illness contracted subsequent to
the consumer taking possession thereof.
The Law provides that if a pet dealer wishes to contest a demand for a refund, exchange or
reimbursement made by a consumer such dealer shall have the right to require the consumer to
produce the animal for examination by a licensed veterinarian designated by such dealer. Upon
examination if the consumer and the dealer are unable to reach an agreement which constitutes one
of the options set forth in the Law within ten business days following receipt of the animal for
such examination, the consumer may initiate an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to
recover or obtain such refund, exchange and/or reimbursement. Nothing in § 753 of the General
Business Law, however, in any way limits the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to
consumers under any other law.
For the purposes of the Law, “consumer” means an individual purchasing a dog or a cat from a
pet dealer. A pet dealer shall not be considered a consumer. “Pet dealer” means any person, firm,
partnership, corporation or other association which in the ordinary course of business engages in
the sale or offers for sale more than nine dogs or cats per year for profit to the public. Such
definition includes breeders of animals who sell or offer to sell animals directly to a consumer but
does not include duly incorporated humane societies dedicated to the care of unwanted animals
which make such animals available for adoption whether or not a fee for such adoption is charged.