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Florida Pet Lemon Law for Felines

For each cat 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 catís entry into the state. The official certificate of veterinary inspection certifying compliance with this section must accompany each cat transported into the state for sale.

For each cat 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 cat is offered for sale in the state.

Each cat must receive vaccines and anthelmintics against the following diseases and internal parasites:
 

1. Panleukopenia
2. Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
3. Calici Virus
4. Rabies
5. Hookworms
6. Roundworms

 

If the cat 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 cat 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.

Each cat 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.

The term ďOfficial Certificate of Veterinary InspectionĒ 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, the printed or typed names and addresses of the person or business from whom the animal was obtained, the consigner or seller, the consignee or purchaser, and the examining veterinarian, and the veterinarians license number. The certificate of veterinary inspection must list all vaccines and parasite medications administered to the cat, including the manufacturer, vaccine, type, lot number, expiration date, and the dates of administration, and must state that the examining veterinarian warrants that, to the best of their knowledge, the animal has no sign of contagious or infectious diseases and has no evidence of internal or external parasites, including coccidiosis and earmites, 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.

The examination of each 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 cat is free of internal parasites, including hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. If the examination warrants, the cat must be treated with a specific anthelmintic. 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.

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

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

If, within 14 days following the sale by a pet dealer of an animal subject to this section, a licensed veterinarian of the consumerís 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 consumerís 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 veterinarianís examination and certification that the 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 cat of the consumerís choice of equivalent value, and reimbursement for reasonable veterinary costs directly related to the veterinarianís examination and certification that the cat is unfit for purchase pursuant to this section and directly related to necessary emergency services and treatment undertaken to relieve suffering.

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 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 veterinarian and the services rendered are appropriate for the certification by the veterinarian.

A consumer may sign a waiver relinquishing his or her right to return the 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 consumerís choosing. If the veterinarian certifies that, at the time of sale, the 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 cat is unfit;

B. The right to return the animal and receive an exchange cat of the consumerís choice of equivalent value, but not a refund of the veterinary costs related to the certification that the cat is unfit.

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.

The refund or exchange shall be made by the pet dealer not later than 10 business days following receipt of a signed veterinary certification as required. The consumer must notify the pet dealer within 2 business days after the veterinarianís 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.

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 cat unfit for sale unless the animal is clinically ill because of that condition.

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, if the consumer and the dealer are unable to reach an agreement that constitutes one of the options mentioned within this article 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.

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

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 consumerís right, pursuant to section 829.29, Florida Statutes, to receive a certificate of veterinary inspection with each cat purchased from a pet dealer. Such certificate shall list all vaccines and parasite 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 veterinarianís 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, Florida Statutes, the consumer must notify the pet dealer within 2 business days of the veterinarianís determination that the animal is unfit 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.

The term ďpet dealerĒ means any person, firm, partnership, corporation, or other association which, in the ordinary course of business, engages in the sale of more than 2 litters, or 20 cats, per year, to the public. This definition includes breeders of animals who sell such animals directly to a consumer.

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.

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

A pet dealer may not knowingly misrepresent the breed, sex, or health of any cat offered for sale within the states.

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.

Consumers who feel they've been wronged by a pet dealer should fill out and submit a complaint form to the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services' Division of Animal Industry.

FL DACS