"Puppy Lemon Laws" protect owners from financial risk - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

"Puppy Lemon Laws" protect owners from financial risk

(WMC-TV) - When you buy a puppy, you always run the risk of bringing home a sick animal. That's why 20 states across the country have enacted what's called "the Puppy Lemon Law."

A growing number of states across America are now adopting such laws, which require pet dealers to accept financially responsible for sick animals.

Donna Malone, president of Responsible Animal Owners of Tennessee, says the law has many positives.

"I think the intent of these laws is good - to give the buyer some protections," Malone said.

But she agrees there may be negatives as well.

"I don't think that they should get to blame breeders when there are so many problems that the owners themselves can cause," she said.

States with Puppy Lemon laws have their own individual time limits new pet owners must follow to get their animals checked.

According to Malone, after you purchase an animal, you should take it to the vet before you even head home.  And, she said, do your homework.

"The best protection they can get is caveat emptor, buyer beware.  Know what you're buying, know where you're getting it from and know the dog's pedigree," she said.

Some states allow you to hold onto your pet. You can have the seller contribute part of the money to treat the sick animal.

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