New York Committee to Consider Harmful Changes to Consumer Protection Law TOMORROW (2/6)

The New York Senate Consumer Protection Committee is scheduled to consider a bill tomorrow (Tuesday, February 6) that would make significant changes to the state’s laws concerning the sale of animals. 

Those who reside and sell dogs in New York are encouraged to contact the committee prior to the hearing tomorrow at 10:00 am and express any comments and concerns you have with Senate Bill 1902.  Visit the committee’s website and click on the names for contact information.

Summary:

Senate Bill 1902 amends New York state’s General Business Law regarding options for consumers who purchase an animal from a pet dealer that is later deemed “unfit for sale”.  Under current law, a “pet dealer” is defined a person who sells 9 or more animals per year to the public, or more than 25 animals per year if they were bred and raised on the person’s residential premises. 

This bill would change the protections for consumers to the following:

  • Significantly increase the time frame during which an animal may be determined “unfit for sale”. Senate Bill 1902 would increase the time from 14 to 30 days after purchase during which an animal may be determined, according to a veterinarian chosen by the customer, to be “unfit for sale” due to illness, or symptoms of a contagious or infectious disease. 
  • Could allow consumers to require a pet dealer to pay for care for the life of the animal. Current law allows consumers the option of receiving a reimbursement for veterinary services for the purpose of attempting to cure the animal, but states that the costs must be reasonable and cannot exceed the purchase price of the animal. 

    Senate Bill 1902 would change this and allow the consumer the option of asking the pet dealer to pay for the care of the animal for the lifetime of the animal. While it appears that the costs must be related to the reason the animal was declared unfit for purchase, it is broad and not clear what all this could include.  It also appears to remove the provisions that the costs must be reasonable and cannot exceed the purchase price.

AKC supports reasonable consumer protection laws, and believes that proper protections and recourses should be offered to consumers in case an animal is sold that is truly “unfit for purchase”.  However, SB 1902 is overly harsh and removes reasonable protections that protect responsible breeders.   It also should be noted that no such requirements are required of retail rescues or shelters.

AKC is recommending amendments that any determination of “unfit for purchase” due to illness or symptoms of illness should represent the state of the dog at the time of sale. This protects pet dealers from being forced to provide compensation for an illness that may have occurred after the dog was sold to its owner.  AKC further recommends that protection laws should state very clearly that the costs for caring for the animal must also be directly related to an illness that was present at the time of sale, to avoid forcing a pet dealer to pay for a lifetime of veterinary visits for the animal for other circumstances. 

AKC Government Relations is continuing to monitor this legislation.  For more information, contact doglaw@akc.org.