Florida Pet Lemon Law

Florida has one of the most far-reaching pet buyer protection laws in the nation. The law
applies to both cats and dogs, and it requires vaccinations and examinations for animals prior
to sale.
Pet Law 828.29 Dogs and cats transported or offered for sale; health requirements; consumer
guarantee.

(1)(a) For each dog transported into the state for sale, the tests, vaccines, and anthelmintics
required by this section must be administered by or under the direction of a veterinarian,
licensed by the state of origin and accredited by the United States Department of Agriculture,
who issues the official certificate of veterinary inspection. The tests, vaccines, and
anthelmintics must be administered no more than 30 days and no less than 14 days before the
dog's entry into the state. The official certificate of veterinary inspection certifying compliance
with this section must accompany each dog transported into the state for sale.

(b) For each dog offered for sale within the state, the tests, vaccines, and anthelmintics
required by this section must be administered by or under the direction of a veterinarian,
licensed by the state and accredited by the United States Department of Agriculture, who
issues the official certificate of veterinary inspection. The tests, vaccines, and anthelmintics
must be administered before the dog is offered for sale in the state, unless the licensed,
accredited veterinarian certifies on the official certificate of veterinary inspection that to
inoculate or deworm the dog is not in the best medical interest of the dog, in which case the
vaccine or anthelmintic may not be administered to that particular dog. Each dog must receive
vaccines and anthelmintics against the following diseases and internal parasites:

1. Canine distemper. 2. Leptospirosis.3. Bordetella (by intranasal inoculation or by an
alternative method of administration if deemed necessary by the attending veterinarian and
noted on the health certificate, which must be administered in this state once before sale). 4.
Parainfluenza. 5. Hepatitis. 6. Canine parvo. 7. Rabies, provided the dog is over 3 months of
age and the inoculation is administered by a licensed veterinarian. 8. Roundworms. 9.
Hookworms. If the dog is under 4 months of age, the tests, vaccines, and anthelmintics
required by this section must be administered no more than 21 days before sale within the
state. If the dog is 4 months of age or older, the tests, vaccines, and anthelmintics required by
this section must be administered at or after 3 months of age, but no more than 1 year before
sale within the state.


(3)(a) Each dog or cat subject to subsection (1) or subsection (2) must be accompanied by a
current official certificate of veterinary inspection at all times while being offered for sale within
the state. The examining veterinarian must retain one copy of the official certificate of
veterinary inspection on file for at least 1 year after the date of examination. At the time of sale
of the animal, one copy of the official certificate of veterinary inspection must be given to the
buyer. The seller must retain one copy of the official certificate of veterinary inspection on
record for at least 1 year after the date of sale.

(b) The term "official certificate of veterinary inspection" means a legible certificate of
veterinary inspection signed by the examining veterinarian licensed by the state of origin and
accredited by the United States Department of Agriculture, that shows the age, sex, breed,
color, and health record of the dog or cat, the printed or typed names and addresses of the
person or business from whom the animal was obtained, the consignor or seller, the
consignee or purchaser, and the examining veterinarian, and the veterinarian's license
number. The official certificate of veterinary inspection must list all vaccines and deworming
medications administered to the dog or cat, including the manufacturer, vaccine, type, lot
number, expiration date, and the dates of administration thereof, and must state that the
examining veterinarian warrants that, to the best of his or her knowledge, the animal has no
sign of contagious or infectious diseases and has no evidence of internal or external parasites,
including coccidiosis and ear mites, but excluding fleas and ticks. The Department of
Agriculture and Consumer Services shall supply the official intrastate certificate of veterinary
inspection required by this section at cost.

(c) The examination of each dog and cat by a veterinarian must take place no more than 30
days before the sale within the state. The examination must include, but not be limited to, a
fecal test to determine if the dog or cat is free of internal parasites, including hookworms,
roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. If the examination warrants, the dog or cat must be
treated with a specific anthelmintic. In the absence of a definitive parasitic diagnosis, each dog
or cat must be given a broad spectrum anthelmintic. Each dog over 6 months of age must also
be tested for heartworms. Each cat must also be tested for feline leukemia before being
offered for sale in the state. All of these tests must be performed by or under the supervision of
a licensed veterinarian, and the results of the tests must be listed on the official certificate of
veterinary inspection.

(d) All dogs and cats offered for sale and copies of certificates held by the seller and
veterinarian are subject to inspection by any agent of the Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services, any agent of the United States Department of Agriculture, any law
enforcement officer, or any agent appointed under s. 828.03.

(4) A person may not transport into the state for sale or offer for sale within the state any dog
or cat that is less than 8 weeks of age.

(5) If, within 14 days following the sale by a pet dealer of an animal subject to this section, a
licensed veterinarian of the consumer's choosing certifies that, at the time of the sale, the
animal was unfit for purchase due to illness or disease, the presence of symptoms of a
contagious or infectious disease, or the presence of internal or external parasites, excluding
fleas and ticks; or if, within 1 year following the sale of an animal subject to this section, a
licensed veterinarian of the consumer's choosing certifies such animal to be unfit for purchase
due to a congenital or hereditary disorder which adversely affects the health of the animal; or
if, within 1 year following the sale of an animal subject to this section, the breed, sex, or health
of such animal is found to have been misrepresented to the consumer, the pet dealer shall
afford the consumer the right to choose one of the following options:

(a) The right to return the animal and receive a refund of the purchase price, including the
sales tax, and reimbursement for reasonable veterinary costs directly related to the
veterinarian's examination and certification that the dog or cat is unfit for purchase pursuant to
this section and directly related to necessary emergency services and treatment undertaken to
relieve suffering;

(b) The right to return the animal and receive an exchange dog or cat of the consumer's choice
of equivalent value, and reimbursement for reasonable veterinary costs directly related to the
veterinarian's examination and certification that the dog or cat is unfit for purchase pursuant to
this section and directly related to necessary emergency services and treatment undertaken to
relieve suffering; or

(c) The right to retain the animal and receive reimbursement for reasonable veterinary costs
for necessary services and treatment related to the attempt to cure or curing of the dog or cat.

Reimbursement for veterinary costs may not exceed the purchase price of the animal. The
cost of veterinary services is reasonable if comparable to the cost of similar services rendered
by other licensed veterinarians in proximity to the treating veterinarian and the services
rendered are appropriate for the certification by the veterinarian.

(6) A consumer may sign a waiver relinquishing his or her right to return the dog or cat for
congenital or hereditary disorders. In the case of such waiver, the consumer has 48 normal
business hours, excluding weekends and holidays, in which to have the animal examined by a
licensed veterinarian of the consumer's choosing. If the veterinarian certifies that, at the time of
sale, the dog or cat was unfit for purchase due to a congenital or hereditary disorder, the pet
dealer must afford the consumer the right to choose one of the following options:

(a) The right to return the animal and receive a refund of the purchase price, including sales
tax, but excluding the veterinary costs related to the certification that the dog or cat is unfit; or

(b) The right to return the animal and receive an exchange dog or cat of the consumer's choice
of equivalent value, but not a refund of the veterinary costs related to the certification that the
dog or cat is unfit.

(7) A pet dealer may specifically state at the time of sale, in writing to the consumer, the
presence of specific congenital or hereditary disorders, in which case the consumer has no
right to any refund or exchange for those disorders.

(8) The refund or exchange required by subsection (5) or subsection (6) shall be made by the
pet dealer not later than 10 business days following receipt of a signed veterinary certification
as required in subsection (5) or subsection (6). The consumer must notify the pet dealer within
2 business days after the veterinarian's determination that the animal is unfit. The written
certification of unfitness must be presented to the pet dealer not later than 3 business days
following receipt thereof by the consumer.

(9) An animal may not be determined unfit for sale on account of an injury sustained or illness
contracted after the consumer takes possession of the animal. A veterinary finding of intestinal
or external parasites is not grounds for declaring a dog or cat unfit for sale unless the animal is
clinically ill because of that condition.

(10) If a pet dealer wishes to contest a demand for veterinary expenses, refund, or exchange
made by a consumer under this section, the dealer may require the consumer to produce the
animal for examination by a licensed veterinarian designated by the dealer. Upon such
examination, if the consumer and the dealer are unable to reach an agreement that constitutes
one of the options set forth in subsection (5) or subsection (6) within 10 business days
following receipt of the animal for such examination, the consumer may initiate an action in a
court of competent jurisdiction to recover or obtain reimbursement of veterinary expenses,
refund, or exchange.

(11) This section does not in any way limit the rights or remedies that are otherwise available
to a consumer under any other law.

(12) Every pet dealer who sells an animal to a consumer must provide the consumer at the
time of sale with a written notice, printed or typed, which reads as follows: It is the consumer's
right, pursuant to section 828.29, Florida Statutes, to receive a certificate of veterinary
inspection with each dog or cat purchased from a pet dealer. Such certificate shall list all
vaccines and deworming medications administered to the animal and shall state that the
animal has been examined by a Florida-licensed veterinarian who certifies that, to the best of
the veterinarian's knowledge, the animal was found to have been healthy at the time of the
veterinary examination. In the event that the consumer purchases the animal and finds it to
have been unfit for purchase as provided in section 828.29(5), Florida Statutes, the consumer
must notify the pet dealer within 2 business days of the veterinarian's determination that the
animal was unfit. The consumer has the right to retain, return, or exchange the animal and
receive reimbursement for certain related veterinary services rendered to the animal, subject
to the right of the dealer to have the animal examined by another veterinarian.

(13) For the purposes of subsections (5)-(12) and (16), the term "pet dealer" means any
person, firm, partnership, corporation, or other association which, in the ordinary course of
business, engages in the sale of more than two litters, or 20 dogs or cats, per year, whichever
is greater, to the public. This definition includes breeders of animals who sell such animals
directly to a consumer.

(14) The state attorney may bring an action to enjoin any violator of this section or s. 828.12 or
s. 828.13 from being a pet dealer.

(15) County-operated or city-operated animal control agencies and registered nonprofit
humane organizations are exempt from this section.

(16) A pet dealer may not knowingly misrepresent the breed, sex, or health of any dog or cat
offered for sale within the state.

(17) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a person who violates any provision of this
section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.
775.083.



FLORIDA REQUIRES VACCINES
&
A CLEAN HEALTH CERTIFICATE
THIS LAW HAS BEEN REVISED SINCE FIRST WRITTEN IN 1994

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