Chapter 328

2007 -- H 5177

Enacted 07/07/07

 

A N A C T

RELATING TO ANIMALS AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY -- PET WARRANTIES -- DOGS

          

     Introduced By: Representatives Fellela, Serpa, Melo, Giannini, and Ucci

     Date Introduced: January 24, 2007

 

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

 

     SECTION 1. Title 4 of the General Laws entitled "Animals and Animal Husbandry" is

hereby amended by adding thereto the following chapter:

 

     CHAPTER 25

 

PET WARRANTIES DOGS

 

     4-25-1. Definitions. As used in this chapter:

      (1) "Clinically ill" means an illness that is apparent to a licensed veterinarian based on

observation, examination, or testing of the dog.

     (2) "Nonelective surgical procedure" means a surgical procedure that is necessary to

preserve or restore the health of an animal or to correct a condition that would interfere with the

animal's ability to walk, run, jump or otherwise function in a normal manner.

     (3) "Purchaser" means any person purchasing a dog from a seller, as defined in this

section.

     (4) "Seller" means any person, business or other entity engaging in the sale of dogs,

except that this definition does not encompass the sale of dogs on the premises of and by a public

shelter, pound or other entity operating as a nonprofit organization pursuant to Rhode Island law.

Persons selling fewer than twenty (20) dogs or three (3) litters, whichever is greater, in a single

calendar year shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter.

 

     4-25-2. Information at sale provided by seller. (a) Every seller shall, at the time of

sale, deliver to the purchaser of each dog a written statement containing the following

information:

     (1) The date of the animal's birth, if known; the breeders name and address, if known;

and the date the seller received the animal, if not bred by the seller. If the seller does not know the

name and address of the breeder, then the seller must provide the name and address of the person

who sold or gave the animal to the seller.

     (2) The breed, sex and color of the animal, and identifying marks existing at the time of

sale, if any. If the animal is from a United States Department of Agriculture licensed source, the

statement shall contain the individual identifying tag, tattoo or collar number for that animal. If

the breed is unknown or mixed, the statement must so indicate.

     (3) If the animal is being sold as registerable, the names and registration numbers of the

sire and dam and the litter number.

     (4) A record of any inoculations and worming treatments administered to the animal as of

the time of sale including dates of administration and the type of vaccine or worming treatment.

     (5) A record of any diagnosis, treatment or medication received by the animal from a

licensed veterinarian while in the possession of the seller.

 

     4-25-3. Written disclosure by seller. (a) Upon the sale of a dog, a written disclosure

signed and dated by both the seller and purchaser shall be provided and shall include:

     (1) A statement by the seller:

     (i) That the animal has no known disease or illness nor any congenital or hereditary

condition that adversely affects the health of the animal at the time of sale or is likely to adversely

affect the health of this animal in the future; or

     (ii) Of any known disease, illness or congenital or hereditary condition that adversely

affects the health of the animal at the time of sale or is likely to adversely affect the health of the

animal in the future.

      (b) The seller must disclose in writing if the animal has not received a veterinary

examination prior to sale.

 

     4-25-4. Record keeping. A seller shall maintain the written record on the health and

disposition of each dog sold by the seller for a period of two (2) years following the sale. The

record shall also contain all of the information required to be disclosed pursuant to sections 4-25-

2 and 4-25-3 herein. These records shall also be available to animal control and law enforcement

officers for inspection and copying within normal business hours.

 

     4-25-5. Purchaser remedies. (a) A purchaser is entitled to relief from the seller after

the purchase of a dog if one of the following conditions occurs:

     (1) Within twenty (20) days after the purchase of the dog, a licensed veterinarian states in

writing that the animal is suffering from or has died from an illness, disease or other defect

adversely affecting the animal's health and that this condition existed in the dog on or before

delivery to the purchaser. Intestinal or external parasites shall not be considered to adversely

affect an animal's health unless their presence makes the animal clinically ill.

     (2) Within two (2) years after the purchase of the animal, a licensed veterinarian states in

writing that the animal possesses or has died from a congenital or hereditary condition adversely

affecting the health of the animal or that requires hospitalization or nonelective surgical

procedures.

     (b) A purchaser entitled to relief herein may elect only one of the following remedies:

     (1) Return the animal to the seller for a full refund of the purchase price and also

reimbursement for reasonable veterinarian fees for diagnosis and treatment in an amount not to

exceed the original purchase price of the animal.

     (2) Exchange the animal for another one which the purchaser may choose having

comparable value if a replacement is available and also receive reimbursement for reasonable

veterinary fees for diagnosis and treatment in an amount not to exceed the original purchase price

of the animal; or

     (3) Retain the animal and also receive reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees for

diagnosis and treatment in an amount not to exceed the original purchase price of the animal.

     (c) For purposes of this section, veterinary fees shall be deemed reasonable if the services

rendered are appropriate for the diagnosis and treatment of the illness or congenital or hereditary

condition. The cost of such services shall be comparable to that charged for similar services by

other Rhode Island veterinarians. A veterinary fee shall be presumed reasonable in the absence of

evidence to the contrary.

     (d) Refunds and payment of reimbursable expenses pursuant to this section shall be made

by the seller to the purchaser within ten (10) business days following receipt by seller of

veterinarians statement as per subsection 4-25-5(a) herein.

 

     4-25-6. Purchaser's obligations. In order for the purchaser to obtain remedies as per 4-

25-5 herein he/she shall comply with all of the following requirements:

     (1) Notify the seller in writing as soon as practicable, but in no event more than ten (10)

days after the diagnosis by a licensed veterinarian that the animal has a medical or health problem

or congenital or hereditary condition.

     (A) The notice shall include the name and telephone number of the veterinarian providing

the diagnosis.

     (2) In the case of illness or disease, the purchaser shall provide a written statement from a

licensed veterinarian within ten (10) days of diagnosis which states that the animal is clinically ill,

suffers from a congenital or hereditary condition, or has symptoms of a contagious infectious

disease which existed on or before delivery to the purchaser and that adversely affects the health

of the animal.

     (B) At the request of the seller, the purchaser shall take the animal for an examination by

a licensed veterinarian of the seller's choice.

     (i) The seller shall pay for the cost of this veterinarian.

     (ii) In the case of death, the seller may have his or her veterinarian perform a necropsy.

The seller will bear the cost.

     (3) The statement of the veterinarian referred to herein shall include the following:

     (i) The purchasers name and address.

     (ii) The date or dates the animal was examined.

     (iii) The breed and age of the animal, if known.

     (iv) That the veterinarian examined the animal.

     (v) That the animal has or had an illness or condition subject to a remedy under section 4-

25-5 herein.

     (vi) The findings from the examination or necropsy including, but not limited to,

laboratory results and copies of said.

     (vii) An itemized bill for fees appropriate for the diagnosis and treatment of the illness.

 

     4-25-7. Limitations on remedies. (a) Notwithstanding other provisions herein, no

refund, replacement or reimbursement of veterinary fees shall be made if any of the following

conditions occur:

     (1) The illness or death resulted from maltreatment or neglect or from an injury sustained

or an illness contracted subsequent to the delivery of the animal to the purchaser.

     (2) The purchaser does not carry out the recommended treatment prescribed by the

examining veterinarian who made the initial diagnosis. If the cost for said treatment together with

the veterinarians fee for diagnosis exceeds the purchase price then this section does not apply.

     (3) The illness disease or condition was disclosed at the time of sale pursuant to section

4-25-3 but the purchaser took the delivery of the animal anyway.

     (4) The purchaser failed to return to the seller all documents previously provided to the

purchaser to register the animal.

 

     4-25-8. Contested cases. (a) If the purchaser and seller are unable to reach an

agreement within ten (10) business days following an examination of the animal by the seller's

chosen veterinarian, the purchaser may initiate an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to

resolve the dispute.

     (b) The purchaser in any legal action pursuant to this section shall have the right to

collect reasonable attorneys' fees and court costs if the opposing party acted in bad faith in

denying the requested remedy.

 

     4-25-9. Notice. (a) Every seller pursuant to this chapter shall post in a conspicuous

location a notice stating that purchasers of animals have specific rights under law and that a

written statement of such rights is available upon request. Such notice shall be in one hundred

(100) point type and shall read as follows:

     "Purchasers of dogs from this seller are entitled to specific rights under law. Purchasers

must be provided a written copy of such rights at the time of sale. Prospective purchasers may

receive a copy of such rights from the seller upon request."

     (b) The required notice at the time of sale must be signed by the purchaser and seller and

receipt thereof must be acknowledged.

     (c) If the seller represents that the animal is registered or registerable with a registry then

at the time of sale an additional written notice must be signed by seller and purchaser and must

read as follows:

     "A pedigree or a registration does not assure proper breeding condition, health quality or

claims to lineage."

     (d) The seller shall provide the purchaser with all documents necessary for registration

within one hundred twenty (120) days following the date of sale.

     (e) If the seller fails to provide the documents necessary for registration within one

hundred twenty (120) days from sale then the purchaser upon written notice to seller, shall be

entitled to retain the animal and receive a partial refund of seventy-five percent (75%) of the

purchase price; or the purchaser can return the animal and all documentation and receive a full

refund.

     (f) If the seller misrepresents the breed of the animal then the purchaser is entitled to all

remedies herein.

 

     4-25-10. Other remedies. (a) Nothing in this chapter limits any other rights or

remedies available to a consumer under law.

     (b) A seller and purchaser may agree to additional terms and conditions so long as they

are not inconsistent with this chapter. The rights referred to in this chapter may not be waived.

 

     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.

     

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LC00613

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