CanI get sued for selling puppiesthat were in seemingly good health but subsequently died of parvo, if I disclosed to the buyer thatthey had no shots?

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CanI get sued for selling puppiesthat were in seemingly good health but subsequently died of parvo, if I disclosed to the buyer thatthey had no shots?

I sold 2 puppies to a lady. When she took them they were in good health. I told her they had had no shots and they needed their shots. She said OK. A week later 1 died. She said that it was hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Then a week later the other 1died and she said they both died of parvo and she wanted her money back. Also, she wants me to pay for her to get new carpet because the puppies were on it when they died. She said that if not she was going to sue me for all that. I called around to ask vets if they keep dogs that died. They said no and they can’t do autopsy on dogs that were frozen.

Asked on October 16, 2010 under General Practice, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you did not guaranty the dogs' health (basically, a dog "warranty" for some time) and you also disclosed to the buyer the lack of shots...and you did not misrepresent anything about their health (e.g. you did not say they were in good health when you knew that they in fact were sick), then you would not be liable. Liability for loss of goods, including pets, depends on either a contractual breach (you didn't sell what you promised to), a misrepresention (you lied in order to induce the sale), or some sort of warranty or guaranty. If you told the buyer truthfully everything you knew and did issue a guaranty, you would not be liable...though that may not stop her from suing you if she's bound and determined to; you'd then defend yourself, and probably win, but it still would take time and money. If she seems detemined to sue, it may be  best to try to settle--maybe refund the puppy price but not pay for the carpet?


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