Pet Lemon Law


OAG Seal Dear New Yorker:

Pets are truly members of the American family. It is estimated that approximately 60% of households have at least one pet.

Pets offer unconditional love and their companionship can provide important physical and emotional benefits to us.

New York's Pet Lemon Law is aimed at ensuring the good health of cats and dogs sold in the State. New owners are entitled to recover any losses incurred as the result of the purchase of an unfit dog or cat.

This brochure is designed to provide information to assist you in understanding your rights when you decide to invite a dog or cat into your family.


Office of the New York Attorney General
The State Capitol
Albany, New York 12224

What is the Pet Lemon Law?

New York State's Pet Lemon Law is designed to safeguard the public and to ensure the humane treatment of dogs and cats by requiring pet dealers to guarantee the good health of any such animal sold by a pet dealer to a consumer.

Who is a Pet Dealer?

A pet dealer is a pet store or breeder who engages in the sale of more than nine dogs or cats a year for profit to the public.

When is an Animal Unfit?

The law protects consumers when a cat or dog is unfit for purchase due to illness, a congenital malformation which adversely affects the health of the animal, or the presence of symptoms of a contagious or infectious disease.

What are Dealers Required to Do?

Dealers must post a notice of consumer rights in a manner clearly visible, and at the time of sale, must also provide written notice of the same to the consumer.

What Rights Do Consumers Have?

Consumers who purchase an unfit dog or cat may be entitled to a refund, reimbursement for veterinary expenses or a replacement animal.

To qualify for a refund or a replacement animal, a consumer must obtain a veterinary certification that the animal is unfit within fourteen business days of the purchase, and return the pet to the seller within three business days of obtaining this certification.

Consumers are also entitled to reimbursement of the cost of obtaining such certification.

If the consumer chooses to try to cure the animal, he or she may receive reimbursement for the reasonable value of services rendered.

Is There a Time Limit?

A consumer must obtain a veterinarian certification within 14 business days of purchase or within 14 days of receipt of the written notice of his rights under the pet lemon law, whichever is later.