New York State's "Pet Lemon Law"


Bringing home a new beloved pet should be a joyful and happy occasion for the whole family. No one brings home a new pet with the expectation that it could be very ill. The heartbreak that is caused by finding out that your new pet is terminally ill is tremendous and devastating. In addition, caring for an ill pet can be very costly as unexpected veterinarian bills and the costs of necessary medication can quickly add up. New York State has a law which aims to protect new pet owners from this type of occurrence and ensure that pet dealers treat animals humanely.


Referred to as the “Pet Lemon Law”, the law provides that those who purchase dogs or cats that are ill at the time of purchase may obtain a refund, replacement animal, or reimbursement for a reasonable amount of veterinary costs incurred. Under the law, if a new pet parent who had purchased a dog or cat from a pet dealer obtains a certification from a veterinarian that the pet was “unfit for purchase,” within the first fourteen business days of purchasing the animal, the pet dealer who sold the pet must issue one of the options mentioned above within ten business days. The fourteen-day time frame is extended to the first 180 days if the illness is a hereditary and/or congenital deformity. The same remedies apply- the pet dealer must either reimburse for veterinary care costs, or issue a refund or exchange. The law also provides that a pet dealer must provide a notice to the new pet parent at the time they purchase the animal. The notice must be signed and include any known diseases or conditions which affect the animal’s health, as well as a description of the animal, breed, date of purchase, amount of purchase, and contact information for the person who is making the purchase.


If you have brought a new pet into your life which was ill at the time of purchase, you have remedies available under New York State law. If the pet dealer from whom you purchased the pet refuses to reimburse you reasonable veterinary costs, or provide another remedy, it is best you consult with an attorney as soon as possible who can advise you of your rights and discuss a course of action.


The Law Office of Jessica M. Semins handles Animal Law matters and is available to represent clients throughout New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester. Contact The Law Office of Jessica M. Semins to schedule a consultation at (646) 397-6844. Consultations are by appointment only. Office locations in Manhattan & Melville, Long Island for the convenience of clients.


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Attorney Advertising.  The content contained herein is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor form an attorney-client relationship. (c) 2019 The Law Office of Jessica M. Semins, Jessica M. Semins, Esq.