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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

  

                         Laws of Minnesota 1992 

                        CHAPTER 585-S.F.No. 1841 
           An act relating to commerce; consumer protection; 
          regulating the sale of dogs and cats by pet dealers; 
          prescribing penalties; providing remedies; proposing 
          coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 325F.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
    Section 1.  [325F.79] [DEFINITIONS.] 
    For purposes of sections 1 to 3, the following definitions 
apply: 
    (a) "Animal" means a dog, wholly or in part of the species 
Canis familiaris, or a cat, wholly or in part of the species 
Felis domesticus. 
    (b) "Pet dealer" means any person, firm, partnership, 
corporation, or association, including breeders, that is 
required to collect sales tax for the sale of animals to the 
public.  Pet dealer does not include humane societies, nonprofit 
organizations performing the functions of humane societies, or 
animal control agencies. 
    (c) "Breeder" means any person, firm, partnership, 
corporation, or association that breeds animals for direct or 
indirect sale to the public. 
    (d) "Broker" means a person, firm, partnership, 
corporation, or association that purchases animals for resale to 
other brokers or pet dealers. 
    (e) "Health problem" means any disease, illness, or 
congenital or hereditary condition which would impair the health 
or function of the animal that is apparent at the time of sale, 
or which should have been apparent to the seller from the 
veterinary history of the animal. 
    (f) "Veterinarian" means a licensed veterinarian in the 
state of Minnesota. 
    Sec. 2.  [325F.791] [SALES OF DOGS AND CATS.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [DISCLOSURE.] Every pet dealer shall 
deliver to each retail purchaser of an animal written disclosure 
as follows: 
    (a) The name, address, and USDA license number of the 
breeder and any broker who has had possession of the animal; the 
date of the animal's birth; the date the pet dealer received the 
animal; the breed, sex, color, and identifying marks of the 
animal; the individual identifying tag, tattoo, or collar 
number; the name and registration number of the sire and dam and 
the litter number; and a record of inoculations, worming 
treatments, and medication received by the animal while in the 
possession of the pet dealer. 
    (b) A statement signed by the pet dealer that the animal 
has no known health problem, or a statement signed by the pet 
dealer disclosing any known health problem and a statement 
signed by a veterinarian that recommends necessary treatment. 
    The disclosure shall be made part of the statement of 
consumer rights set forth in subdivision 10.  The disclosure 
required in paragraph (a) need not be made for mixed breed 
animals if the information is not available and cannot be 
determined by the pet dealer. 
    Subd. 2.  [RECORDS.] The pet dealer shall maintain, for one 
year, a copy of the statement of consumer rights delivered to 
the purchaser. 
    Subd. 3.  [REGISTRATION.] A pet dealer who represents an 
animal as eligible for registration with an animal pedigree 
organization shall provide the retail purchaser, within 90 days 
of final payment, the documents necessary for registration.  If 
these documents are not received from the pet dealer, the 
purchaser may retain the animal and receive a refund of 50 
percent of the purchase price, or return the animal, along with 
all documentation previously provided, and receive a full refund.
The pet dealer shall not be responsible for delays in 
registration which are the result of persons other than the pet 
dealer. 
    Subd. 4.  [HEALTH.] No animal may be offered for sale by a 
broker or pet dealer to a retail purchaser until the animal has 
been examined by a veterinarian.  The veterinarian used by the 
broker shall not be the same veterinarian used by the pet 
dealer.  If the pet dealer is not the breeder of the animal, 
each animal shall be examined within two days after receipt of 
the animal by a pet dealer and within four days of delivery of 
the animal to the purchaser by the pet dealer.  The cost of the 
examination shall be paid by the pet dealer. 
    Subd. 5.  [RESPONSIBILITIES OF PURCHASER.] To obtain the 
remedies provided in subdivision 6, the purchaser shall with 
respect to an animal with a health problem: 
    (a) Notify the pet dealer, within two business days, of the 
diagnosis by a veterinarian of a health problem and provide the 
pet dealer with the name and telephone number of the 
veterinarian and a copy of the veterinarian's report on the 
animal. 
    (b) If the purchaser wishes to receive a full refund for 
the animal, return the animal no later than two business days 
after receipt of a written statement from a veterinarian 
indicating the animal is unfit due to a health problem. 
    With respect to a dead animal the purchaser must provide 
the pet dealer a written statement from a veterinarian, 
indicating the animal died from a health problem which existed 
on or before the receipt of the animal by the purchaser. 
    Subd. 6.  [RIGHTS OF THE PURCHASER.] If, within ten days 
after receipt of the animal by the purchaser, a veterinarian 
states, in writing, that the animal has a health problem which 
existed in the animal at the time of delivery, or if within one 
year after receipt of the animal by the purchaser, a 
veterinarian states, in writing, that the animal has died or is 
ill due to a hereditary or congenital defect, or is not of the 
breed type represented, the animal shall be considered to have 
been unfit for sale at the time of sale. 
    In the event an animal dies due to a health problem which 
existed in the animal at the time of delivery to the purchaser, 
the pet dealer shall provide the purchaser with one of the 
following remedies selected by the purchaser:  receive an 
animal, of equal value, if available, and reimbursement for 
reasonable veterinary fees, such reimbursements not to exceed 
the original purchase price of the animal; or receive a refund 
of the full purchase price. 
    In the event of a health problem, which existed at the time 
of delivery to the purchaser, the pet dealer shall provide the 
purchaser with one of the following remedies selected by the 
purchaser:  return the animal to the pet dealer for a refund of 
the full purchase price; exchange the animal for an animal of 
the purchaser's choice of equivalent value, providing a 
replacement is available; or retain the animal, and receive 
reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees, such 
reimbursements not to exceed the original purchase price of the 
animal. 
    The price of veterinary service shall be deemed reasonable 
if the service is appropriate for the diagnosis and treatment of 
the health problem and the price of the service is comparable to 
that of similar service rendered by other veterinarians in 
proximity to the treating veterinarian. 
    Subd. 7.  [RIGHTS OF PET DEALER.] No refund, replacement, 
or reimbursement of veterinary fees shall be required if any one 
or more of the following conditions exist: 
    (a) The health problem or death resulted from maltreatment, 
neglect, or a disease contracted while in the possession of the 
purchaser, or from an injury sustained subsequent to receipt of 
the animal by the purchaser. 
    (b) A veterinarian's statement was provided to the 
purchaser pursuant to subdivision 1, paragraph (b), which 
disclosed the health problem for which the purchaser seeks to 
return the animal. 
    (c) The purchaser fails to carry out recommended treatment 
prescribed by the examining veterinarian, pursuant to 
subdivision 1, paragraph (b). 
    Subd. 8.  [CONTEST.] (a) In the event that a pet dealer 
wishes to contest a demand for the relief specified in 
subdivision 3 or 6, the pet dealer may require the purchaser to 
produce the animal for examination or autopsy by a veterinarian 
designated by the pet dealer.  The pet dealer shall pay the cost 
of this examination or autopsy.  The pet dealer shall have a 
right of recovery against the purchaser if the pet dealer is not 
obligated to provide a remedy under subdivision 6. 
    (b) If the pet dealer does not provide the relief selected 
by the purchaser set forth in subdivision 3 or 6, the purchaser 
may initiate a court action. 
    (c) The prevailing party in the court action shall have the 
right to recover costs and reasonable attorney fees not to 
exceed $500. 
    Subd. 9.  [POSTED NOTICE.] Every pet dealer shall post in a 
prominent location of the facility, a notice, in 48-point 
bold-face type, containing the following language: 
 "Information on all dogs and cats is available.  You are 
entitled to a statement of consumer rights.  Make sure you 
receive this statement at the time of purchase." 
    Subd. 10.  [STATEMENT OF CONSUMER RIGHTS.] Every pet dealer 
shall provide the retail purchaser a written notice of rights, 
which shall be signed by the purchaser, acknowledging that the 
purchaser has reviewed the notice, and signed by the pet dealer 
certifying the accuracy of the information contained in it.  A 
signed copy shall be retained by the pet dealer and one given to 
the purchaser.  The notice shall be in 16-point bold-face type 
and shall state as follows: 
 "A STATEMENT OF MINNESOTA LAW GOVERNING
 THE SALE OF DOGS AND CATS 
 The sale of dogs and cats is subject to consumer protection 
regulations.  Minnesota law also provides safeguards to 
protect pet dealers and animal purchasers.  Attached is a 
copy of Minnesota Statutes, section 325F.79.  Contained 
within this law is a statement of your consumer rights." 
    The statement of consumer rights shall also contain or have 
attached the disclosures required under subdivision 1. 
    Subd. 11.  [LIMITATION.] Nothing in this subdivision shall 
limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a 
purchaser under any other law.  Any agreement or contract by a 
purchaser to waive any rights under this chapter shall be null 
and void and shall be unenforceable. 
    Sec. 3.  [325F.792] [ADDITIONAL PENALTIES.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [CRIMINAL PENALTY.] A violation of any 
United States Department of Agriculture statute or regulation 
covering animal breeders or groomers, pet dealers, or the 
transportation of dogs or cats is a misdemeanor. 
    Subd. 2.  [CIVIL PENALTY.] (a) A pet dealer who: 
    (1) sells an animal without delivery of the disclosure 
required in section 2, subdivision 1; 
    (2) fails to maintain the records required by section 2, 
subdivision 2; 
    (3) fails to provide registration papers as provided in 
section 2, subdivision 3; 
    (4) fails to make or provide payment for the examinations 
required by section 2, subdivision 4; 
    (5) fails to post the notice required by section 2, 
subdivision 9; or 
    (6) fails to provide the statement of consumer rights 
required by section 2, subdivision 10, 
is subject to a civil fine of up to $1,000 per violation. 
    (b) Civil fines collected under this subdivision shall be 
collected by the court and turned over to the prosecuting 
attorney. 
    Sec. 4.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
    This act is effective December 1, 1992. 
    Presented to the governor April 17, 1992 
    Signed by the governor April 29, 1992, 10:37 a.m.