If you’re considering giving a new puppy or other pet as a gift this holiday season, listen up. State law requires pet stores to insure the critter you bring home is healthy, and your rights as a consumer are protected.
State inspectors from the Department of Agriculture are fanning out around Florida this month, making sure pet stores are following the law.
Dr. Samuel Lamb is checking the records at Carol’s Critters. Pet Stores have to keep records on each animal for a year, including required health certificates showing the animals were checked out by a vet, vaccinations, and any medications.
“It’s always much better to get one that’s healthy because after the holidays, there’s a lot of hard feelings if you get a pet that’s not healthy. It’s always good to have on here the written guarantee.”
Under state law you have the right to return the pet or get your money back within two weeks if your vet finds the animal is not healthy.
Small mom and pop operations that sell fewer than 20 animals a year are not subject to the same requirements under the pet law, but they still must provide you with an up-to-date health certificate.
Carol’s Critters did pass the inspection, but Carol Hoover actually advises against giving someone a pet for the holidays.
“We would prefer that people would gift a gift certificate or come in as a family or wait until after the busy, crazy holiday season, when everyone is traveling. It’s very stressful on new animals too.”
You want to make sure your new addition becomes a healthy and happy member of the family.
Over the last two years Florida pet stores have had to refund about $65,000 to unhappy customers who filed complaints with the state.
Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson recommends these additional tips to pet purchasers:
- Don’t buy on impulse. Make sure the size and breed of the animal will be suitable for your lifestyle.
- Examine the health certificate carefully to make sure it is complete.
- If there is a problem with the pet after you buy it, contact the seller immediately.