'Puppy Lemon Law' protecting Illinois pet owners - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

'Puppy Lemon Law' protecting Illinois pet owners

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

If you buy a sick dog or cat, you may be able to get a refund and help with the vet bills.

It's a part of the new 'Puppy Lemon Law' in Illinois that provides options to those who buy animals from licensed pet dealers and it's later found to have a disease or defect.

"She has water on her brain and one side of her brain is not developed properly," said Quincy resident Bobbie Likes.

Likes bought her dog 'Angel' from a Missouri breeder but says Angel didn't start showing any health problems until she was one year old.

"She's never been a playful little dog after she came out of this," said Likes. "It's just made her older."

Likes believes that Angel's illnesses were caused by inbreeding and the environment in which she was kept.

Stories similar to Likes is what's led Illinois to pass the puppy lemon law, protecting consumers who buy a dog or cat and then learn the animal is seriously ill.

"We see this frequently; whether it's weekly or monthly," said Dr. Drew Kaiser with the Katherine Road Animal Hospital.

The law allows pet owners to get a replacement pet or a reimbursement for the cost of vet bills if they decide to the keep the sick animal.

"Puppies and kittens and as such, need certain things and they all can have even something as simple as ear mites in kitties," said Dr. Kaiser.

The law also allows owners to get a full refund or replacement if they buy a pet from a store and it dies within 21 days.

Even though Likes bought her pooch in Missouri, which doesn't have a lemon law, she says she couldn't imagine someone giving up their new pet just because of an illness.

"She gets a lot of special attention and if she does something bad it doesn't matter, we don't care," said Likes. "She's alive."

Dr. Kaiser says to ask for a vet certificate when you buy a pet. The certificate tells you that the dog or cat is in good health and if the dealer doesn't give you a vet's certificate, Kaiser says don't buy the animal.

The puppy lemon law goes into effect January 1st.

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