Our state legislators wrap up the season on Wednesday and we need all CT dog lovers to help with an important pet store bill - HB 5409. This bill just passed the House on Friday (unanimously), so now we need the Senate to pass it with just 2 days to go! This law clarifies that a consumer can be reimbursed up to $500 for veterinary bills after they unknowingly purchase a sick puppy from a puppy store—and still keep their puppy. The language of the existing law was unclear and led to consumers thinking they would have to surrender their beloved puppy in order to claim their reimbursement. The bill also requires stores to post signs about the puppy lemon law and give a copy of the law to anyone that purchases a puppy.
Why do we need this? Because pet stores are selling too many sick puppies to unsuspecting customers who end up with sky high vet bills and heartbreak.
State Rep. Fred Camillo, (R-151) in Greenwich, is one of the co-sponsors of the bill. He says he is supporting it because "In 2009, I was proud to introduce The Pet Lemon Law on the floor of the House of Representatives. It became law that year and now with the passage of HB 5409 in the House chamber, there stands a chance (if passed in the Senate and signed into law by the Governor) that the law could be amended to be more effective."
Allison Allen, founding member of the Westport Coalition Against Puppy Mills explains it this way, "There is a critical need to clarify the puppy lemon law and to ensure the public is aware of it. Pet stores are not going to tell customers about it voluntarily so consumers are not aware of their rights under the law."
She adds, "Anyone who sees a sick pet store puppy should not buy him, but instead call the Dept. of Agriculture (860.713.2506) ASAP who will go and inspect and order the store to have the dog treated by a veterinarian."
This law also allows the state to fine puppy stores for poor care and conditions, which hasn't been done before.
The reason a puppy 'lemon law' is necessary at all is because most pet store puppies come from factory breeding facilities commonly known as Puppy Mills where dogs are bred in poor, crowded conditions and lack adequate veterinary care or socialization, which often results in sick puppies.
Supporters are asking that the bill be placed on the Senate's Consent Calendar, which is for bills that have unanimous support and no opposition and allows them to pass it quickly without debate.
Click here for your Senator's contact information, and please ask your state Senator to support HB 4509 and ask them to place it on the consent calendar ASAP!