Full Statute Name:  West's Annotated Code of Maryland - Business Regulation - Title 19. Miscellaneous State Business Regulation - Subtitle 7. Retail Pet Stores

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Popular Title:  Pet Purchaser Protection Act/ Puppy Lemon Laws Primary Citation:  MD Code, Business Regulation, § 19–701 to 19–707 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  December, 2016 Date Adopted:  2012
Summary: This statute regulates retail pet stores that sell dogs. According to this statute, a purchaser is allowed remedies if, within two weeks after the purchase of a dog from a pet store, a veterinarian certifies that a dog suffers from or has died from a disease or illness that existed at the time of purchase. The purchaser may also be entitled to remedies if, within three months after the purchase of a dog from a pet store, a veterinarian certifies that the dog possesses or has died from a congenital or hereditary disease the adversely affects the dog's health, requires hospitalization or a non-elective surgical procedure. This statute also discusses a retail pet store's obligations to the purchaser, the limitations to obtaining these remedies, and provides the seller with an opportunity to contest the consumer's demand for remedies.
Statute Text: 

§ 19–701. Definitions

§ 19–702. Application of subtitle

§ 19-702.1. Retail pet store sales of dogs or cats

§ 19–703. Retail pet stores required to disclose records relating to dogs for sale

§ 19–704. Retail pet store required to provide health certificate at time of sale

§ 19–705. Remedies available to purchasers

§ 19–706. Violation of subtitle an unfair or deceptive trade practice

§ 19–707. Construction of subtitle with other rights or remedies


§ 19-701. Definitions

In general

(a) In this subtitle the following words have the meanings indicated.

Animal control unit

(b) “Animal control unit” has the meaning stated in § 10-617 of the Criminal Law Article.
Animal welfare organization

(c) “Animal welfare organization” means a not-for-profit organization established to promote animal welfare that has tax exempt status under § 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

Breeder

(d) “Breeder” means a person who breeds or raises dogs to sell, exchange, or otherwise transfer to the public.
Clinically ill

(e) “Clinically ill” means an illness that is apparent to a licensed veterinarian based on observation, examination, or testing of the dog.
Dealer

(f)(1) “Dealer” means a person who, for compensation:

(i) buys, sells, or negotiates the purchase of a dog; or

(ii) delivers for transport or transports a dog.

(2) “Dealer” does not include a person who transports a dog as a carrier only.

Nonelective surgical procedure

(g) “Nonelective surgical procedure” means a surgical procedure that is necessary to preserve or restore the health of an animal or to correct a condition that would:

(1) interfere with the animal's ability to walk, run, jump, or otherwise function in a normal manner; or

(2) cause pain and suffering to the animal.

Offer for sale

(h) “Offer for sale” includes to sell, offer to transfer, offer for adoption, advertise for the sale, barter, auction, giveaway, or otherwise dispose of a domestic animal.

Purchaser

(i) “Purchaser” means any person who purchases a dog from a retail pet store.

Retail pet store

(j) “Retail pet store” means a for-profit establishment open to the public that sells or offers for sale domestic animals to be kept as household pets.

Credits
Added by Acts 2012, c. 214, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012; Acts 2012, c. 215, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012. Amended by Acts 2016, c. 572, § 1, eff. June 1, 2016; Acts 2016, c. 573, § 1, eff. June 1, 2016.

 

§ 19-702. Application of subtitle

This subtitle does not apply to an animal welfare organization or animal control unit operating within a retail pet store.

Credits
Added by Acts 2012, c. 214, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012; Acts 2012, c. 215, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012. Amended by Acts 2016, c. 572, § 1, eff. June 1, 2016; Acts 2016, c. 573, § 1, eff. June 1, 2016.

 

§ 19-702.1. Retail pet store sales of dogs or cats

Permissible sources of dogs or cats offered for sale

(a) A retail pet store may offer a dog or cat for sale only if the dog or cat is obtained from:

(1) an animal welfare organization;

(2) an animal control unit;

(3) the original breeder of the dog or cat if the breeder meets the requirements under subsection (b) of this section; or

(4) a dealer that obtained the dog or cat from the original breeder if the dealer and original breeder meet the requirements under subsection (b) of this section.

Verification of original breeders

(b) A retail pet store shall ensure that a person under subsection (a)(3) or (4) of this section from which the retail pet store obtains a dog or cat, as of the day the retail pet store receives the dog or cat:

(1) holds a current license under the Animal Welfare Act from the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and

(2) has not received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in accordance with an enforcement action of the laws and regulations under the federal Animal Welfare Act:

(i) a citation on a final inspection report for a direct violation within the 2-year period before the day the dog or cat is received by the retail pet store;

(ii) citations on two or more consecutive final inspection reports for one or more repeat noncompliant items within the 2-year period before the day the dog or cat is received by the retail pet store;

(iii) a citation on both of the two most recent final inspection reports for a no-access violation; or

(iv) three or more citations on the most recent final inspection report for separate noncompliant items other than no-access violations.

Credits
Added by Acts 2016, c. 572, § 1, eff. June 1, 2016; Acts 2016, c. 573, § 1, eff. June 1, 2016.

 

§ 19-703. Retail pet stores required to disclose records relating to dogs for sale

Scope of disclosure

(a) A retail pet store that sells dogs shall:

(1) post conspicuously on each dog's cage:

(i) the breed, age, and date of birth of the dog, if known;

(ii) the state in which the breeder and, if applicable, the dealer of the dog is located; and

(iii) the United States Department of Agriculture license number of the breeder and, if applicable, the dealer;

(2) maintain a written record that includes the following information about each dog in the possession of the retail pet store:

(i) the breed, age, and date of birth of the dog, if known;

(ii) the sex, color, and any identifying markings of the dog;

(iii) documentation of all inoculations, worming treatments, and other medical treatments, if known, including the date of the medical treatment, the diagnoses, and the name and title of the treatment provider;

(iv) the name and address of:

1. the breeder and, if applicable, the dealer who supplied the dog;

2. the facility where the dog was born; and

3. the transporter or carrier of the dog, if any;

(v) the United States Department of Agriculture license number of the breeder and, if applicable, the dealer;

(vi) any identifier information, including a tag, tattoo, collar number, or microchip; and

(vii) if the dog is being sold as registered or registrable:

1. the names and registration numbers of the sire and dam; and

2. the litter number; and

(3) for each dog acquired by the retail pet store, maintain a written record of the health, status, and disposition of the dog, including any documents that are required at the time of sale.

Retention of records

(b) A retail pet store shall maintain a copy of the records required under subsection (a)(2) of this section for at least 2 years after the date of sale of the dog.

Records made available to Division of Consumer Protection and purchasers

(c) A retail pet store shall make the records required under subsection (a)(2) of this section available to:

(1) the Division of Consumer Protection of the Office of the Attorney General on reasonable notice;

(2) any bona fide prospective purchaser on request;

(3) the purchaser at the time of a sale; and

(4) an animal control unit.

Credits
Added by Acts 2012, c. 214, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012; Acts 2012, c. 215, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012. Amended by Acts 2016, c. 572, § 1, eff. June 1, 2016; Acts 2016, c. 573, § 1, eff. June 1, 2016.

 

§ 19-704. Retail pet store required to provide health certificate at time of sale

Contents of health certificate

(a) A retail pet store shall provide to a purchaser at the time of a sale of a dog:

(1) a health certificate from a veterinarian licensed in the State issued within 30 days before the date of sale certifying that the dog:

(i) has no known disease, illness, or congenital or hereditary condition which is diagnosable with reasonable accuracy; and

(ii) does not appear to be clinically ill from parasitic infection at the time of the examination;

(2) the written record about the dog maintained by the retail pet store under § 19-703
(a)(2) of this subtitle; and

(3) a statement notifying the purchaser of the specific rights available to the purchaser under this subtitle.

False or misleading statements

(b) It is an unfair or deceptive trade practice within the meaning of Title 13 of the Commercial Law Article for a retail pet store to include any false or misleading statements in the health certificate or written record provided to a purchaser under subsection (a) of this section.

Credits
Added by Acts 2012, c. 214, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012; Acts 2012, c. 215, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012.

 

§ 19-705. Remedies available to purchasers

Purchasers entitled to remedy

(a)(1) A person who purchased a dog from a retail pet store is entitled to a remedy under this section if:

(i) within 7 days after the date of the sale, the person had the dog examined by a veterinarian licensed in the State and, within 14 days after the date of the sale, the licensed veterinarian states in writing that the dog suffers from or has died of a disease or illness adversely affecting the health of the dog and that existed in the dog on or before the date of delivery to the purchaser; or

(ii) within 180 days after the date of the sale, a licensed veterinarian states in writing that the dog possesses or has died of a congenital or hereditary condition adversely affecting the health of the dog or that requires hospitalization or a nonelective surgical procedure.

(2) Intestinal or external parasites may not be considered to adversely affect the health of the dog unless the presence of the parasites makes the dog clinically ill.
Return or exchange of dog

(b)(1) A purchaser entitled to a remedy under subsection (a) of this section may:

(i) return the dog to the retail pet store for a full refund of the purchase price;

(ii) exchange the dog for another dog of comparable value chosen by the purchaser, if available; or

(iii) retain the dog and be reimbursed by the retail pet store for reasonable and documented veterinary fees for diagnosis and treatment of the dog, not exceeding the purchase price of the dog.

(2) Unless the owner or operator of the retail pet store contests a reimbursement required under paragraph (1)(iii) of this subsection, the reimbursement shall be made to the purchaser no later than 10 business days after the retail pet store receives the veterinarian's statement under subsection (c) of this section.
Written statement from veterinarian required

(c) To obtain a remedy under this section, a purchaser shall provide to the owner or operator of the retail pet store, within 5 business days after receipt, a written statement from a licensed veterinarian that the dog suffers from or has died of a disease, illness, or congenital or hereditary condition adversely affecting the health of the dog and that existed in the dog on or before the date of delivery to the purchaser.

Purchasers not entitled to remedy
(d) A purchaser is not entitled to a remedy under this section if:

(1) the illness or death resulted from:

(i) maltreatment or neglect by the purchaser;

(ii) an injury sustained after the delivery of the dog to the purchaser; or

(iii) an illness or disease contracted after the delivery of the dog to the purchaser;

(2) the purchaser does not carry out the recommended treatment prescribed by the veterinarian who made the diagnosis; or

(3) the illness, disease, or congenital or hereditary condition was disclosed at the time of purchase.

Credits
Added by Acts 2012, c. 214, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012; Acts 2012, c. 215, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012.

 

§ 19-706. Violation of subtitle an unfair or deceptive trade practice

Violation of subtitle

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a violation of this subtitle:

(1) is an unfair or deceptive trade practice within the meaning of Title 13 of the Commercial Law Article; and

(2) is subject to the enforcement and penalty provisions contained in Title 13 of the Commercial Law Article.
Violation of § 19-702.1

(b)(1) A violation of § 19-702.1 of this subtitle:

(i) is an unfair or deceptive trade practice within the meaning of Title 13 of the Commercial Law Article; and

(ii) except for the provisions of § 13-411 of the Commercial Law Article, is subject to the enforcement and penalty provisions contained in Title 13 of the Commercial Law Article.

(2) Each offer of an animal for sale in violation of § 19-702.1 of this subtitle is a separate violation.

Credits
Added by Acts 2012, c. 214, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012; Acts 2012, c. 215, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012. Amended by Acts 2016, c. 572, § 1, eff. June 1, 2016; Acts 2016, c. 573, § 1, eff. June 1, 2016.

 

 

§ 19-707. Construction of subtitle with other rights or remedies

Nothing in this subtitle limits:

(1) the rights or remedies otherwise available to a purchaser;

(2) the ability of the owner or operator of a retail pet store and purchaser to agree to additional terms and conditions that do not impair the rights granted to a purchaser under this subtitle; or

(3) the ability of the State or a local government to prosecute the owner or operator of a retail pet store for any other violation of law.

Credits
Added by Acts 2012, c. 214, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012; Acts 2012, c. 215, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2012.

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