Defraying the costs of sick puppies

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Customers who buy sick animals from pet stores have legal recourseLemon laws have long been in place to protect consumers who may be duped into purchasing a product with a polished appearance that belies its functional drawbacks. When the product is an everyday commodity like a used car, consumers can leverage the law to cover refunds and additional expenses; but what happens when the "lemon" is a new pet?

According to some animal welfare advocates, animals bought in pet stores are more likely to have health problems than those purchased from shelters and independent breeders.

Several options have emerged for pet owners trying to foot the bill for vet services required by their store-bought sick puppies. Many states have adopted pet owner protection laws, like New Jersey’s Pet Protection Act of 2000, which stipulates that if a veterinarian certifies a sick animal was unfit for sale with two weeks of the purchase, the owner may be reimbursed for the pet, or for expenses associated with veterinary pet care, the Atlantic City Press reports.

Pet warranties, issued by companies like Household Pet Protection in Colorado, and veterinary pet insurance plans have also become common in defraying pet health costs.

The U.S. Human Society estimates that up to 4 million puppies were bought in pet stores or over the internet last year.

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