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Maryland

Retail Pet Stores--Sales of Dogs--Required Records, Health Disclosures, and Purchaser Remedies (SB 317)

Bill Details
Printable Version

Citation: 2012 SB 317



Date Introduced: 07/27/2012 (Senate First Read)

Date of Last Action: 05/02/2012 (Governor Signed)

Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 09/2012



Summary:   This bill, which will be enacted on October 1, 2012, regulates retail pet stores that sell dogs. According to this bill, a purchaser is allowed remedies if within two weeks after the purchase a veterinarian certifies that a dog suffers from or has died from a disease or illness that existed at the time of purchase. The purchaser may also be entitled to remedies if within three months after the purchase a veterinarian certifies that the dog possesses or has died from a congenital or hereditary disease the adversely affects the dog's health, requires hospitalization or a non-elective surgical procedure. This bill also discusses a retail pet store's obligations to the purchaser, the limitations to obtaining these remedies, and provides the seller with an opportunity to contest the consumer's demand for remedies.


Bill in Full:
Chapter 214
S.B. No. 317
AN ACT concerning
Retail Pet Stores--Sales of Dogs--Required Records, Health Disclosures, and Purchaser Remedies
FOR the purpose of requiring a retail pet store that sells dogs to post conspicuously on each dog's cage certain information about the dog; requiring a retail pet store to maintain a written record that contains certain information about each dog in the possession of the retail pet store; requiring a retail pet store to maintain a certain record for a certain period of time after the date of sale of a dog; requiring a retail pet store to make certain records available to certain persons and the Division of Consumer Protection of the Office of the Attorney General under certain circumstances; requiring a retail pet store to provide certain written information to a purchaser; providing that it is an unfair or deceptive trade practice within the meaning of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act for a retail pet store to include any false or misleading statements in a certain certificate or record; authorizing a purchaser of a dog to seek certain remedies for certain health problems under certain circumstances; requiring a purchaser seeking a remedy under this Act to provide a certain written statement to the owner or operator of the retail pet store; requiring the owner or operator of a retail pet store to make a certain reimbursement within a certain period of time; providing that a purchaser is not entitled to a remedy under this Act under certain circumstances; establishing that a violation of this Act is an unfair or deceptive trade practice within the meaning of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act and is subject to certain enforcement and penalty provisions; establishing that this Act does not limit certain rights or remedies, the ability to agree to certain additional terms and conditions, or the ability of the State or a local government to prosecute a retail pet store for any other violation of laws; making certain conforming changes; providing for the application of this Act; defining certain terms; and generally relating to required records, health disclosures, and purchase remedies related to dog sales by retail pet stores.
BY adding to
Article--Business Regulation
Section 19–701 through 19–707 to be under the new subtitle “Subtitle 7.
Retail Pet Stores”
Annotated Code of Maryland
(2010 Replacement Volume and 2011 Supplement)
BY repealing and reenacting, with amendments,
Article--Commercial Law
Section 13–301(14)(xxvii)
Annotated Code of Maryland
(2005 Replacement Volume and 2011 Supplement)
BY repealing and reenacting, without amendments,
Article--Commercial Law
Section 13–301(14)(xxviii)
Annotated Code of Maryland
(2005 Replacement Volume and 2011 Supplement)
BY adding to
Article--Commercial Law
Section 13–301(14)(xxix)
Annotated Code of Maryland
(2005 Replacement Volume and 2011 Supplement)
SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF MARYLAND, That the Laws of Maryland read as follows:
Article--Business Regulation
T. 19 Subt. 7 pr. § 19–701
SUBTITLE 7--RETAIL PET STORES
<< MD BUS REG § 19–701 >>
19–701.
(a) In this subtitle the following words have the meanings indicated.
(b) “Breeder” means a person who breeds or raises dogs to sell, exchange, or otherwise transfer to the public.
(c) “Clinically ill” means an illness that is apparent to a licensed veterinarian based on observation, examination, or testing of the dog.
(d)(1) “Dealer” means a person who, for compensation:
(i) buys, sells, or negotiates the purchase of a dog; or
(ii) delivers for transport or transports a dog.
(2) “Dealer” does not include a person who transports a dog as a carrier only.
(e) “Nonelective surgical procedure” means a surgical procedure that is necessary to preserve or restore the health of an animal or to correct a condition that would:
(1) interfere with the animal's ability to walk, run, jump, or otherwise function in a normal manner; or
(2) cause pain and suffering to the animal.
(f) “Purchaser” means any person who purchases a dog from a retail pet store.
(g) “Retail pet store” means a for-profit establishment open to the public that sells or offers for sale domestic animals to be kept as household pets.
<< MD BUS REG § 19–702 >>
19–702.
This subtitle does not apply to a bona fide nonprofit organization operating within a retail pet store.
<< MD BUS REG § 19–703 >>
19–703.
(a) A retail pet store that sells dogs shall:
(1) post conspicuously on each dog's cage:
(i) the breed, age, and date of birth of the dog, if known;
(ii) the state in which the breeder or dealer of the dog is located; and
(iii) the United States Department of Agriculture license number of the breeder or dealer, if required;
(2) maintain a written record that includes the following information about each dog in the possession of the retail pet store:
(i) the breed, age, and date of birth of the dog, if known;
(ii) the sex, color, and any identifying markings of the dog;
(iii) documentation of all inoculations, worming treatments, and other medical treatments, if known, including the date of the medical treatment, the diagnoses, and the name and title of the treatment provider;
(iv) the name and address of:
1. the breeder or dealer who supplied the dog;
2. the facility where the dog was born; and
3. the transporter or carrier of the dog, if any;
(v) the United States Department of Agriculture license number of the breeder or dealer, if required;
(vi) any identifier information, including a tag, tattoo, collar number, or microchip; and
(vii) if the dog is being sold as registered or registrable:
1. the names and registration numbers of the sire and dam; and
2. the litter number; and
(3) for each dog acquired by the retail pet store, maintain a written record of the health, status, and disposition of the dog, including any documents that are required at the time of sale.
(b) A retail pet store shall maintain a copy of the records required under subsection (a)(2) of this section for at least 1 year after the date of sale of the dog.
(c) A retail pet store shall make the records required under subsection (a)(2) of this section available to:
(1) the Division of Consumer Protection of the Office of the Attorney General on reasonable notice;
(2) any bona fide prospective purchaser on request; and
(3) the purchaser at the time of a sale.
<< MD BUS REG § 19–704 >>
19–704.
(a) A retail pet store shall provide to a purchaser at the time of a sale of a dog:
(1) a health certificate from a veterinarian licensed in the State issued within 30 days before the date of sale certifying that the dog:
(i) has no known disease, illness, or congenital or hereditary condition which is diagnosable with reasonable accuracy; and
(ii) does not appear to be clinically ill from parasitic infection at the time of the examination;
(2) the written record about the dog maintained by the retail pet store under § 19–703(a)(2) of this subtitle; and
(3) a statement notifying the purchaser of the specific rights available to the purchaser under this subtitle.
(b) It is an unfair or deceptive trade practice within the meaning of Title 13 of the Commercial Law Article for a retail pet store to include any false or misleading statements in the health certificate or written record provided to a purchaser under subsection (a) of this section.
<< MD BUS REG § 19–705 >>
19–705.
(a)(1) A person who purchased a dog from a retail pet store is entitled to a remedy under this section if:
(i) within 7 days after the date of the sale, the person had the dog examined by a veterinarian licensed in the State and, within 14 days after the date of the sale, the licensed veterinarian states in writing that the dog suffers from or has died of a disease or illness adversely affecting the health of the dog and that existed in the dog on or before the date of delivery to the purchaser; or
(ii) within 180 days after the date of the sale, a licensed veterinarian states in writing that the dog possesses or has died of a congenital or hereditary condition adversely affecting the health of the dog or that requires hospitalization or a nonelective surgical procedure.
(2) Intestinal or external parasites may not be considered to adversely affect the health of the dog unless the presence of the parasites makes the dog clinically ill.
(b)(1) A purchaser entitled to a remedy under subsection (a) of this section may:
(i) return the dog to the retail pet store for a full refund of the purchase price;
(ii) exchange the dog for another dog of comparable value chosen by the purchaser, if available; or
(iii) retain the dog and be reimbursed by the retail pet store for reasonable and documented veterinary fees for diagnosis and treatment of the dog, not exceeding the purchase price of the dog.
(2) Unless the owner or operator of the retail pet store contests a reimbursement required under paragraph (1)(iii) of this subsection, the reimbursement shall be made to the purchaser no later than 10 business days after the retail pet store receives the veterinarian's statement under subsection (c) of this section.
(c) To obtain a remedy under this section, a purchaser shall provide to the owner or operator of the retail pet store, within 5 business days after receipt, a written statement from a licensed veterinarian that the dog suffers from or has died of a disease, illness, or congenital or hereditary condition adversely affecting the health of the dog and that existed in the dog on or before the date of delivery to the purchaser.
(d) A purchaser is not entitled to a remedy under this section if:
(1) the illness or death resulted from:
(i) maltreatment or neglect by the purchaser;
(ii) an injury sustained after the delivery of the dog to the purchaser; or
(iii) an illness or disease contracted after the delivery of the dog to the purchaser;
(2) the purchaser does not carry out the recommended treatment prescribed by the veterinarian who made the diagnosis; or
(3) the illness, disease, or congenital or hereditary condition was disclosed at the time of purchase.
<< MD BUS REG § 19–706 >>
19–706.
A violation of this subtitle:
(1) is an unfair or deceptive trade practice within the meaning of Title 13 of the Commercial Law Article; and
(2) is subject to the enforcement and penalty provisions contained in Title 13 of the Commercial Law Article.
<< MD BUS REG § 19–707 >>
19–707.
Nothing in this subtitle limits:
(1) the rights or remedies otherwise available to a purchaser;
(2) the ability of the owner or operator of a retail pet store and purchaser to agree to additional terms and conditions that do not impair the rights granted to a purchaser under this subtitle; or
(3) the ability of the State or a local government to prosecute the owner or operator of a retail pet store for any other violation of law.
Article--Commercial Law
<< MD COML § 13–301 >>
13–301.
Unfair or deceptive trade practices include any:
(14) Violation of a provision of:
(xxvii) Section 7–405(e)(2)(ii) of the Health Occupations Article; or
(xxviii) Title 12, Subtitle 10 of the Financial Institutions Article; or
(xxix) Title 19, Subtitle 7 of the Business Regulation Article; or


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