Illinois Puppy Lemon Law

Naperville June 2014

Protesting Happiness is Pets Naperville

In 2013, Illinois joined several other states when it enacted a consumer protection law designed to protect individuals who purchase a sick pet from a pet store.

The Illinois Puppy Lemon Law does several things:

  • Provides a list of information that a pet store must disclose to the consumer prior to selling a dog or a cat
  • Requires a pet store to notify the Department of Agriculture (and recent customers in some cases) if there is an outbreak of distemper, parvovirus, or other contagious and potentially life-threatening disease
  • Provides a level of protection and financial remedy to consumers who purchase an ill dog or cat from an Illinois pet store

Who is covered?

If you purchase a dog or cat from a pet store, you may be entitled to relief under the Puppy Lemon Law in the following situations:

  • Within 21 days after the date of purchase, a licensed veterinarian states in writing that at the time of sale the dog or cat was unfit for purchase due to illness or disease, the presence of symptoms of a contagious or infectious disease, or obvious signs of parasitism that are extreme enough to influence the animal’s general health (excluding fleas or ticks), or the dog or cat has died from a disease that existed on or before the date you purchased the animal; or
  • Within one year after the date of the sale, a licensed veterinarian states in writing that the dog or cat possesses a congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the health of the dog or cat or requires hospitalization or a non-elective surgery or has died of a congenital or hereditary condition.
  • The pet store may contest your vet’s diagnosis and has the right to consult a second veterinarian. If you do not reach an agreement, you may file a lawsuit or submit the matter to arbitration if both parties agree to it.

If you purchased a dog or cat from a pet store and it becomes ill:

  • Notify the pet store no more than three business days after your vet’s diagnosis.
  • Provide a written statement to the pet store from your vet within five business days after the diagnosis (make sure to check the Lemon Law to include all required information).
  • Carry out your vet’s recommended treatment plan.
  • Make sure that you have returned all documents required to register the dog or cat back to the pet shop or to the registry organization.

If your dog or cat is still alive:

  • You may return the dog or cat to the pet store for a full refund of the purchase price,
  • Exchange the dog or cat for another dog or cat of comparable value, or
  • Keep the pet and be reimbursed for reasonable veterinary fees for diagnosis and treatment of the dog or cat limited to the purchase price of the animal.

If your dog or cat is deceased:

  • You may be reimbursed for the full purchase price of the dog or cat plus reasonable veterinary fees associated with the diagnosis and treatment of the animal, up to two times the purchase price.

To read the full text of the law, click here.