Is there a lemon law for the sale of puppies?

UPDATED: Jul 27, 2011

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Is there a lemon law for the sale of puppies?

I purchased a chihuahua puppy from a breeder on Friday for $300. She is not AKC but something called APRI. Along with some food the breeder gave me a syringe of something called Albon which she instructed to put 1/4 ml on the food daily for stress. The instruction paper she gave me even says “For Stress”. I gave it to the pup only on the first night because she was fine, not acting stressed at all. On Sunday, the puppy became weak and lethargic for a period of time but came out of it. The same occurred on Monday and that evening I took her to the local pet Emergency. I was told she had Coccia which is a common parasite and is treated with Albon. I was also told she was 13% dehydrated because of this. I called the breed while still there and told her what was going on and the first words she uttered to me were “Have you been giving her the Albon”? This leads me to believe she knew and sold her anyway. The vet told me she had to know and that the whole litter would be infected. The injected fluid under her skin to get her hydrated as well as something to control her nausea and that hopefully once she absorbed some of the fluid would come out of it and continue with the Albon. That evening she did not improve and had at least two seizures. The next day she went to the vet where they ran more tests and found she was not registering a temperature, was still dehydrated and also found the vein to her liver was not fully developed. After a few hours there, her heart stopped and they revived her, but she was in a coma. She passed away not long after. I spoke with the breeder, who at first, was only willing to replace the puppy. I told her I did not want another puppy and she hesitantly said she would give me the money I paid for the puppy back but would not reimburse me for the vet bills which total close to $400. I threaten to take her to small claims, contact the BBB, her registrater, vet and the human society. Still, she refused to pay the bills. I have not been able to find if there is a pet lemon law for IA, where the breeder is. So I am not sure if this would be a strong case, please advise.

Asked on July 27, 2011 Iowa


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There is no "lemon law" pertaining to the sale of a puppy. The "lemon law" statues in many states in this country pertain to the sale of automobiles.

As to the problems that you have with the new puppy you purchased pertain to seemingly pre-xeisting problems when you acquired it that were not disclosed to you before sale. You then lost the animal after spending $400 or so on veterinarian bills and other charges.

It seems that you have a small claims court action against the seller for your damages for breach of contract, possible fraud, and breach of implied warranties as to the animal's condition. Ifyou go to small claims court, make sure to take all veterinarian bills, reports and the cost for the dog's purchase to prove your case.

Good luck.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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