§ 4301. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) "Animal" means a dog or cat.
(2) "Consumer" means an individual who purchases an animal from any licensee or registrant under chapter 194 of this title. A licensee or registrant under this section is not a consumer.
(3) "Pet dealer" means any person, firm, partnership or corporation, or a representative or agent, who engages in the sale of more than one litter of animals per year or two or more animals over six months of age to consumers for monetary consideration. Breeders of animals who sell animals to the public are included in this definition; except that duly incorporated humane societies or animal shelters which make animals available for adoption are exempt. (Added 1989, No. 270 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
§ 4302. Sale of an animal; restitution
(a) If, within seven days following the sale of an animal, a veterinarian of the consumer's choosing certifies the animal to be unfit for purchase due to illness or the presence of signs of contagious or infectious disease, or within one year the veterinarian certifies the existence of congenital malformation or hereditary disease, the consumer may act under subdivision (1) of this subsection, or if mutually agreed upon, under subdivision (2) or (3) of this subsection. The consumer may have:
(1) the right to return the animal and receive a full refund of the purchase price, including sales tax, and reasonable veterinary fees related to certification under this section. A veterinary finding of intestinal parasites is not grounds for declaring an animal unfit, nor is an injury or illness sustained subsequent to the consumer taking possession of an animal;
(2) the right to return the animal and receive an exchange animal of the consumer's choice of equivalent value, and reasonable veterinary costs related to certification under this subsection;
(3) the right to retain the animal and receive reimbursement from the pet dealer for reasonable veterinary service for the purpose of curing or attempting to cure the animal. In no case shall this service exceed the purchase price of the animal. Value of service is reasonable if it compares to similar service rendered by other veterinarians in the area, but in no case may it cover costs not directly related to the certification of unfitness.
(b) The commissioner shall prescribe a form for and the content of the certificate to be used under subsection (a) of this section. The form shall include, but not be limited to, an identification of the type of animal, the owner, date and diagnosis, the treatment recommended, if any, and an estimated cost of the treatment. The form shall also include notice of the provisions of subsection (a) of this section.
(c) Every pet dealer who sells an animal to a consumer shall provide the consumer at the time of sale with the written form prescribed by the commissioner. The notice may be included in a written contract, an animal history certificate or other separate document.
(d) The commissioner shall prescribe by rule other information which shall be provided in writing by the pet dealer to the consumer at the time of sale. Such information shall include, but not be limited to, a description of the animal, including breed and date of purchase, the name, address and telephone number of the consumer and the purchase price. Certification of this document occurs when signed by the pet dealer.
(e) Refund or reimbursement required under subsection (a) of this section shall be made within ten business days following receipt of the signed veterinary certification. The certification shall be presented to the pet dealer within three business days by the consumer. (Added 1989, No. 270 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
§ 4303. Challenge by pet dealer
A pet dealer may contest a demand for reimbursement, refund or exchange under section 4302 of this title by requiring the consumer to produce the animal for examination by a licensed veterinarian of the dealer's designation. If the consumer and the dealer are unable to reach an agreement under provisions of this section within ten business days of an examination, the consumer may initiate an action in a court of competent jurisdiction in the locality where the consumer resides to obtain a refund, exchange or reimbursement. Nothing in this section shall limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to the consumer under any other law. (Added 1989, No. 270 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
§ 4304. Administrative penalties
The commissioner may assess administrative penalties under sections 15-17 of Title 6, not to exceed $1,000.00, for violations of this chapter. (Added 1997, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)