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Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup (Southeast Michigan) Message Board › FACT SHEET: Pass Pet Lemon Law SB 574

FACT SHEET: Pass Pet Lemon Law SB 574

Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Meetup Members,

We have come along way from the Northville side-walk parade in 2008. With 400 members strong and two anti-puppy mill bills pending in Lansing, we are doing just what a grassroots group should do – MAKING CHANGE!

Of the hundreds of events we have held, our Lobby Day next week is one of the most important days. You get a chance to speak for the 353 dogs rescued in Allegan and all the others in waiting to be rescued in breeding facilities.

The deadline to register for Lobby Day April 17th is tomorrow. Register Now!!

This is one of the two Fact Sheets I have prepared for you in preparation for the event. If you can't make it on Tuesday, please learn about the Pet Lemon Law proposal and call your representative.

Fact Sheet
Michigan: Pass Pet Lemon Law SB 574

Download File

States across the country are passing laws to combat the puppy mill industry where dogs are mass produced in large kennels to supply the demand generated by pet stores and interest sellers. Families who unknowingly purchase ill animals from these facilities are suffering not only heartache, but facing excessive veterinary costs. In addition, families are denied paperwork showing where the animal came from.

This bill is also referred to as the Pet Warranty Law or Pet Consumer Protection Act. It will offer consumer protections for purchasers of dogs and cats. People who purchase sick or diseased animals from pet shops, breeders or dealers would have specific recourse against the sellers offering options for the purchaser: returning the animal for a full refund or, replacement, if available or, recovery of some veterinary expenses.

Protect families from excessive veterinary costs: Pet sellers need to be held accountable for burdening the public with veterinary costs and emotional stress of caring for a sick pet. Seller guarantees do not hold up in court and consumers have to prove the seller knew the animal as ill at the time of purchase. Currently the state requires pet stores (only) to have 30 day health certificates signed by a vet. These are only "wellness checks" and would not necessarily uncover genetic defects. It would encourage pet stores, no longer regulated by the MDA, to get their health certificates and treat animals properly. Since most families do not want to "return or replace" the animal they have already bonded with, help with veterinary care is most important. The bill includes specific time frames for reporting illnesses (10 days), maximum amounts a buyer can recover (up to the purchase price), provisions for congenital defects in the purchased animals (90 days to report)

Will not impact rescue groups, shelters or veterinarians: The intent is not to hold non-profits, rescues, shelters or veterinarians responsible.

Stop the sale of sick animals: Holding sellers responsible for veterinary costs will cut into their profits discouraging the sale of animals. It is easy to sell a sick animal to an unsuspecting buyer who's purchase is emotional driven or may be "rescuing" the animal from the bad environment. Huge mark-ups are the motivators. A store may only pay $50-$150 per puppy to a breeder and they can easily sell them for over $700. To keep margins high vet care, food, shelter are cut leaving animals sick. According to a recent California study, 48% of puppies being sold in pet stores were ill or incubating an illness at the time of purchase. Puppies are taken away from their mothers before their immune system properly develops so pet stores can advertise smaller more marketable products. Puppy Mill Awareness of SE Michigan has collected 75 complaints on The Family Puppy chain and 54 on Petland in Novi.

Example Case: Liz Frates, of Ann Arbor, told Puppy Mill Awareness that she purchased a 16-week-old Yorkshire Terrier from a Michigan breeder for $1,200 in cash last year. She was told that the puppy was healthy. The breeder's full written pet guarantee against anything congenital or hereditary did not help Liz in court, after the puppy was diagnosed with grade 2 luxating patellas in both legs – a congenital defect requiring surgery totaling nearly $3,200. Liz had already spent $900 in veterinary costs addressing breathing and diarrhea problems that the puppy had endured since his purchase.

Why so many sick animals? Since 2009, nineteen Michigan pet stores have shipped puppies from large commercial kennels located out of state. Michigan does not have enough large commercial kennels to meet the demand. Puppies traveling long distances in semi trucks are more vulnerable to catch diseases to weaken. Some animals travel 19 hours before they reach the pet stores in Detroit. Once they arrive at the store, they may not be isolated or treated properly before sale to reduce costs.

Require Supplier Disclosure: Breeder information, such as names and addresses, can help protect conscientious Michigan customers from unknowingly contributing to animal neglect and abuse at kennel operations. As of 2009, puppy buyers have access to kennel inspection reports and inventories online through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website. With access to kennel information, buyers can make more informed decisions when purchasing their next family member.
State action is needed: Eighteen other states have Pet Lemon Laws in place. Michigan has 639 licensed dog breeding kennels, four are USDA licensed – which means large/commercial and there are approximately 37 puppy selling stores. In 2010, 1,400 puppies were shipped into pet stores from out-of-state commercial breeders. Michigan's largest retailer, The Family Puppy, ships in over 100 puppies per month – many with violations to the Animal Welfare Act.

According to a 2011 survey, puppy shoppers found 13 out of 23 establishments did not provide breeder names, 100 per cent of the establishments did not provide details about the puppy's parents beyond sire and dam names, and 95 percent did not allow viewing of the parents.

­The full text of S.B. 574.

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