Ask the County Law Librarian – Consumer Pet Protection Act

Q. I purchased a pug at a pet store in the Bay Area ten days ago and now the dog is sick. I took Sparky to the veterinarian and she has hospitalized him. I think he will pull through. What are my options with the pet store?

A. California’s Pet Protection Act (Health & Safety Code Section 122125 et. Seq.) gives consumers recourse when they discover that their pet is ill within 15 days after taking possession of the pet from the pet store.

First you must get a written statement from the treating veterinarian stating that the dog is sick and is requiring hospitalization (Health & Safety Code Section 122160). The statement must be delivered to the pet dealer no later than five days after the diagnosis is made.

You have three options:
• Return the dog for a refund of the purchase price and reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees up to the cost of the dog.
• Exchange the dog for another of equal value and get reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees up to the cost of the dog.
• Keep the dog and receive reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees up to 150% of the purchase price of the pet.
(Health & Safety Code Section 122160)

Dealers who knowingly sell sick animals are subject to a penalty of up to $1000.

If the pet store doesn’t dispute the diagnosis, the refund and reimbursement must be paid within ten days after the dealer receives the veterinarian’s statement (Health & Safety Code Section 122180)

For future pet acquisitions, our local City Shelter and the Sacramento SPCA  are great options for pet adoption.

Get well soon, Sparky.

Do you have a question for the County Law Librarian? Just email If your question is selected your answer will appear in next Thursday's column. Even if your question isn't selected, though, I will still respond within two weeks.

Coral Henning, Director
@coralh & @saclawlibrarian

  • Denise Coleman

    Please know that pet stores are notorious for selling animals that come from puppy mills …Puppy mills are frequently raided by animal protection and law enforcement agencies for abuse and neglect that lead to ill heath of the puppies and the adult dogs that produce them…For more info on puppy mills etc. contact United Animal Nation …
    I hope poor Sparky recovers swiftly and if he ever wants a companion, consider a pug rescue organization or the SPCA

  • Coral Henning

    You are right about puppy mills. Thanks for contributing that to this piece.


Stay connected to what's happening in the city

* We hate spam, too, and will never share your info.