Hawaii Mulls Dog Warranty Bill

Hawaii’s House Committee on Economic Revitalization and Business has scheduled a hearing for tomorrow legislation that would establish a statutory warranty for dogs sold by certain pet stores.

Hawaii’s House Committee on Economic Revitalization and Business has scheduled a hearing for tomorrow on House Bill 2161, legislation that would establish a statutory warranty for dogs sold by pet stores and breeding kennels that sold two or more litters of dogs to the public in the past year.

Under the proposed legislation, buyers of dogs determined “unfit for sale” within 10 days of the purchase would be entitled to reimbursement of the original purchase cost.

The buyer would be able to choose between returning the dog to the pet store for a full refund, an exchange for another dog of comparable value or keeping the dog and being reimbursed for veterinary fees for “curing or attempting to cure” the dog up to the dog’s purchase price.

Buyers would be eligible for reimbursement if a veterinarian certified within 10 business days of the dog’s purchase that the dog had become ill or had died from a disease or condition that existed at the time of the purchase from the pet store.

House Bill 2161 would also require sellers to provide buyers at the time of the sale with a health record for the animal that includes a medical history and the dog’s origin. Sellers would also be required to certify that the dog was free of any apparent contagious disease or hereditary defect. Sellers may also disclose any known conditions, which would preclude the buyer from seeking redress for that condition.

For buyers to be reimbursed, they would need to notify the seller of the examining veterinarian’s contact information within two days of the examination, provide written certification of the veterinarian’s findings within five business days of the veterinary examination, and carry out all treatment for the dog as recommended by the examining veterinarian.

Sellers would be able to contest the findings of the examining veterinarian by requesting the dog’s owner produce the animal within two business days (unless the animal is hospitalized) for an examination by the seller’s veterinarian. Otherwise, sellers would have 14 business days to reimburse the buyer.

House Bill 2161 also requires sellers of dogs sold as registerable to provide registration papers within 120 days of sale. Failure to do so would allow the buyer to return the dog for a full refund or keep the dog and receive a 50 percent refund.

The legislation, which would go into effect Jan. 1, 2013, if approved, also calls for unspecificed civil penalties for sellers violating provisions of the legislation.

The committee is set to hear the bill at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 31, 2012.

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