Florida's Pet Lemon Law

Many people are not aware that in Florida we have a Pet Lemon Law related to dogs and cats. Some dogs and cats can be very costly into the thousands of dollars and you may have the bad luck of getting a sick pet after paying a high amount of money. However, Florida Statute Section 828.29(5) provides that if a pet dealer sells you a sick dog or cat you can get your money back and the veterinary costs for certification that the animal was sick. The way it works is that you have fourteen days (14) to have a licensed veterinarian certify that at the time of sale the animal was unfit for purchase due to illness or disease, symptoms of a contagious or infectious disease, or the presence of internal or external parasites, excluding fleas and ticks.


Beware that some pet dealers will try to trick you into taking your pet into their own veterinarian for free. It is better for you to choose your own veterinary because the pet dealer's veterinary may refuse to certify your pet as sick in order to help the pet dealer. You have the right to choose your own veterinarian.


But what happens if more than fourteen days have elapsed and you have not had your pet evaluated as being sick? Then the other only option you have is that if within one year (1) you have a licensed veterinarian certify that the animal was unfit for purchase because of a congenital or hereditary disorder then you may be able to get your money back.


If you meet one of the two top qualifications then Florida gives you one of three remedy options:

  1. Return of animal for a full refund and refund for reasonable veterinary costs related to examination and certification.

  2. Exchange animal for equivalent value and reimbursement for reasonable veterinary costs related to examination and certification.

  3. Retain animal and receive reimbursement for reasonable veterinary costs related to examination and certification.

Also, reimbursement for veterinary costs may not exceed the purchase price of the animal.


Some pet dealers will try to have you sign a waiver relinquishing your right to return the animal for congenital or hereditary disorders. If you do sign that document, which I recommend that you do not give up that right, then you have forty eight (48) normal business hours, excluding weekends and holidays in which to have the animal examined by a licensed veterinarian of your choosing and the veterinarian certifies that the animal was unfit for purchase because of a congenital or hereditary disorder, then you can either get your money back or exchange of your pet for another one; as well as your veterinary costs related to examination and certification.


Although, animal shelters generally don't always have puppies, you can also get a nice dog or cat from them and avoid all of the hassle with a pet dealer.


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