BUNBURY animal lovers have been warned after a recent increase in reports of sick puppies for sale, often infected with the potentially fatal parvovirus.
Consumer Protection has reported that since the start of 2013 there have been 35 enquiries and 12 complaints.
Consumer Protection commissioner Anne Driscoll says problems with pet purchases can be tricky.
“Buying a pet is exciting but unlike other purchases it’s a living thing that will become part of your family and for that reason the last thing you want is problems when you get home,” Ms Driscoll said.
“Emotional attachments may have been formed that make an exchange or refund out of the question, while a ‘repair’ can equal expensive vet bills and a dispute with the seller.”
Pet shops or businesses that sell animals must comply with the Australian Consumer Law.
The consumer guarantee section of the law means that the “goods” must be fault-free and match the description given, for example the animal is the breed advertised.
However the commissioner said resolving disputes between buyers and sellers can be hard.
“Resolving complaints can be an issue when the seller wants the customer to prove the puppy was sick at the time it left the pet shop,” she said.
“The seller may claim the puppy contracted the illness after it was sold. It can be difficult to substantiate either claim depending on the type of disease and incubation period.”
Ms Driscoll advised to take the pet back to the seller at the earliest opportunity to give the business a chance to provide a remedy.
Depending on the fault and whether it is a major or minor issue will largely determine the remedy you can insist upon or may wish to accept.
For more information contact Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or email email@example.com.
Consumer Protection’s recommendations for pet-buyers:
· Research the type of animal you want, where they are on sale locally and what types of vaccinations they should have had;
· See if friends or family have any recommendations for a pet-seller;
· If you have chosen a seller do a Google search of their name to look for any online warnings;
· Check with recognised breeder Associations for advice and recommendations;
the brochure: www.commerce.wa.gov.au/ConsumerProtection/BuyingAPet
· When buying the animal get certificates/written proof that vaccinations and vet examinations have occurred and obtain a receipt;
· Be sceptical of pets offered in classified advertisements or online that are not from a recognised source or are below market cost.
The RSPCA also has a guide available online at http://kb.rspca.org.au/Im-looking-for-a-new-pet-where-should-I-go_81.html