The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has cited pet shops throughout the State for failing to comply with laws designed to protect consumers from purchasing unhealthy pets.
“Providing consumers with information about the breeder and the animal’s veterinary history allows consumers to make educated choices in purchasing a pet for their family,” acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. “Pet shops that don’t provide this vital information are breaking the law and denying consumers the ability to fully research this important decision.”
All of the pet shops that received notices were cited for failing to include the required information on cage labels for each animal, including where and when it was bred; the name and address of anyone who brokered the sale between breeder and pet store; the date and name of vet who performed the animal’s initial medical exam; and the age, sex, and identifying marks or tags on the animal, Hoffman said.
Several pet shops were also cited for failing to properly display reports of any federal inspections conducted on breeders and brokers in the past two years, he said.
Additional violations involved the failure to properly display the required “Know Your Rights” signs informing customers of their rights when purchasing an animal from a pet shop.
The Notices of Violation direct the pet shops to comply with the Pet Purchase Protection Act and pay a reduced civil penalty. Pet shops that fail to address the notice, or contest the violations, face higher civil penalties.
In addition to the notices, the state sent letters to stores that have more than one retail location with multiple violations, had three or fewer animals for sale at the time of the inspection or whose inspection requires a more detailed review to attend attend executive conferences to discuss inspection violations.
New Jersey consumer protection laws, including the Pet Purchase Protection Act:
Require that cage labels contain the name, street address, web address, and license numbers for each animal’s breeder and broker. Labels must also include the date and place of each animal’s birth; its age, sex, and identifying markings including any tag, tattoo, collar number, or microchip information; the date of its initial medical exam and the name and address of the vet who examined it.
Mandate on-cage display of the “Know Your Rights” sign informing consumers that stores are required to prominently display the two (2) most recent inspections of the facility in which an animal was bred and housed prior to sale. The sign must direct consumers to request any undisplayed reports and inform consumers concerning how to obtain more information about inspections.
Require that an animal be examined by a veterinarian within five (5) days of being offered for sale and that those results be included in the animal’s history and health certificate.
Mandate that if an animal was examined more than 14 days before it is purchased, the pet must be re-examined within three (3) days of delivery to the consumer (unless the consumer declines the re-examination in writing).
Forbid the sale of any animal purchased from a breeder or broker who doesn’t hold required state and federal licenses; has violated certain animal welfare laws in the past two years; or has refused to grant inspectors access to its facilities within the past two years.
The initiative was coordinated by the Office of Consumer Protection Investigator Donna Leslie with legal assistance from the Division of Law, coordinated by DAG Patricia Schiripo.
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