Illinois Animal Law: Pet Shop Lemon Law

Rincker Law Animal Law 5 Comments

In states without a pet shop lemon law, consumers must result to relief under the Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”), which regulates the sale of “goods”. Since pets are more than “goods”, the UCC does not provide as much protection to the consumer for pets as the state specific pet shop lemon laws do.

In Illinois, the Pet Shop Lemon Law allows pet owners who purchased a sick dog or cat from a pet store to have an avenue for recovery. When the pet is sick, the consumer must obtain a statement from a veterinarian that at the time of purchase the pet was sick, or the pet had died from a disease that existed before the customer bought the pet and took it home. The consumer has to option to receive a replacement pet or receive reimbursement for veterinary bills should they keep the sick animal if the veterinarian determined that the pet was sick at the time it was sold.

Additionally, there is a year for the customer to seek remedy under the statute if a pet had a congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects its health, requires hospitalization or a surgical procedure or has died from such. If the customer and pet shop do not reach an agreement within 10 business days, then the parties may agree to binding arbitration or the customer may bring suit in a court of competent jurisdiction.

Specifically, the remedies under 225 ILCS 605/3.15(g) are as follows:

1. Return of the pet for a full refund;

2. Exchange of the pet for another of “comparable value chosen by the customer”;

3. Keep the pet and be reimbursed for “reasonable veterinary fees for the diagnosis and treatment…not to exceed the purchase price” of the pet;

4. If the pet is deceased, refund of the purchase price “plus reasonable veterinary fees associated with the diagnosis and treatment…not to exceed one times the purchase price” of the pet.

The reimbursement must be within 10 business days, unless the shop contests the charges. Reasonable expenses and costs of services are discussed further in 225 ILCS 605/3.15(h).

In addition to the remedies available to consumers who purchase a sick pet, the Pet Shop Lemon Law also requires pet stores to inform the Illinois Department of Agriculture immediately if an outbreak of distemper, parvovirus, or any other contagious and potentially life-threatening disease occurs. Furthermore, the pet store must report to customers within 2 days, in writing, if an outbreak of distemper, parvovirus, or any other contagious and potentially life-threatening disease occurs [i]f the Illinois Department of Agriculture issues a quarantine” and the customer had “purchased a dog or cat during the 2-week period prior to the outbreak and quarantine.” See 225 ILCS 605/3.15(e)

According to the Illinois governor one purpose of the law was to prevent puppy mills from selling their dogs to pet shops, since the pet shop owners would be liable under the law.

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  1. Me and my girlfriend recently purchased a young kitten named Thor from Petco in Algonquin commons under the Anderson animal shelter on August 9, 2019. He passed away about one week after we had him. We called a manager at Anderson animal shelter in South Elgin very concerned and upset what had happened to our cat. She was blaming us for not taking him to the veterinarian right away because he was sneezed and had watery eyes..we were not told he was sick. We have a list of all the vaccinations and apparent things that were done. We are very heartbroken about what happened and we felt like we were betrayed and it was a quick sale. We have been animal lovers our whole lives and would devote any care towards our pet. I feel like they failed him and it’s not fair. If he was sneezing and had watery eyes we should have been told rather than be the “ones” that lead to this horrific tragedy. In return we would think that Petco or Anderson would ccompensate us for the loss of Thor as the least they can do for us. Sincerely, James Manski and Katherine Harmer.

  2. Purchased a puppy from a pet store.
    Vet check recognizes that the puppy is a hermaphrodite…
    mostly female, but after 3 different opinions, surgery is needed !!
    price range for this surgery ranges from 4,320 to over 6,000 dollars.
    Pet store will not take responsibility, even that the contract states 1 year from purchase.
    And Breeder “Puppy mill” my guess ?? will not take responsibility on such a large bill.
    This is definitely a congenital disorder. Puppy store wanted to put the dog down.
    All vets said puppy is healthy and can live a happy healthy life after, removing male organs, and female organs. This puppy was purchased with the intent of being an emotional support animal for my 9 year old Son, that suffers from anxiety, OCD, and has a feeding tube.
    WE are in no position to incur the Surgery fees at all… Please help ??

  3. I recently bought a dog from a pet shop after the passing of my mother, which she wanted me to purchase before she passed. I went to what I would assume a respectable pet store. I went in search of a Pomeranian puppy and with a little research I believed found a all black one, which is rare, so the $2,000 price tag was fair. to me. As Coco began to grow I noticed she look nothing like a Pomeranian but actually a Schipperke Pomeranian mix. I reached out the pet store manager and basically told me that it doesn’t matter what she was sold as, I was stuck because the papers she was given to me stating that she was a Pomeranian was not registry papers. She was very nasty and hung up when I expressed my concerns that I basically paid $2,000 for a mixed breed. Do have a civil case?

  4. We bought a puppy from a breeder and it has parvovirus. Within a week of owning it, we had to hospitalize her and she died. Does the pet shop lemon law also applicable to breeders who sell a parvovirus positive puppy?

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