What to do if I purchased a puppy from a local pet store that has had a vast array of health problems since purchasing him?

I bought a puppy from a local pet store over 2 months ago. He is just over 4 months old at this time. Since we purchased him, he has presented an array of health problems, from upper respiratory distress to his most recent diagnosis of “demodectic mange” (mentioned by our vet as being possibly passed down from mother during nursing). When we purchased him, we received a health guarantee citing the following citing there would be monetary or replacement coverage if the puppy suffered from a debilitating hereditary defect. Do we have a leg to stand on to recoup vet bills?

Asked on July 24, 2012 under General Practice, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A warranty or guaranty is enforceable as per its plain language. If the warranty or guaranty you received only guarantees you against a "debiliting heriditary defect," then unless one or more of these conditions are hereditary--basically genetic (and not caught from the mother while nursing, for example)--you would have no recourse under the guaranty.

If you can show that the store knew the puppy was sick when they sold him to you, but failed to disclose that fact, you may be able to make out a claim for fraud (knowing misrepresentation of a material, or important, fact), which could possibly give you grounds to seek compensation (or to rescind the deal: return puppy, get money back). You would have to sue and prove this in court by a "preponderance of the evidence," or that it is more likely than not.

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