By Bob Katzen

The Senate 36-0, approved and sent to the House a bill ensuring that puppies and kittens are bred and sold in a safe and healthy environment and strengthening the current “Puppy Lemon Law” to give pet owners additional options if they unknowingly purchase a sick pet.

Provisions prohibit the sale of puppies and kittens younger than 8 weeks of age; allow for inspection by the Commissioner of Agricultural Resources of kennels and catteries and persons keeping at least 5 non-spayed female dogs or cats; create a process by which a puppy or kitten suffering from a significant adverse health condition may be declared “unfit for purchase” by a veterinarian; and provide remedies to a buyer of a puppy or kitten declared unfit for purchase including exchange of the puppy or kitten or a refund and reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees.

“As an animal lover, pet owner and occasional small-scale breeder, I am deeply aware of the emotional challenges for families when a pet falls ill, as well as the need to protect the health and safety of young animals,” said the sponsor of the bill Sen. Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). “This bill is the result of extensive discussion with both breeders and animal rights activists to protect puppies, kittens and pet owners across the commonwealth.”

“Pet owners deserve protection when they unknowingly purchase a sick animal that requires expensive veterinary care,” said Senate President Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester). “Animals depend on their owners, and we must repay that trust by ensuring that animals are treated with respect and compassion.”

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