Do you love Cavalier King Charles, Rottweiler, Pomeranian or Collie dogs? And to satisfy your desire to acquire this animal, are you ready to spend hundreds or even thousands of euros? A sum that must be a guarantee of authenticity.
If most professional breeders are very demanding, others, less scrupulous, voluntarily conceal certain vices which greatly diminish the value of the canine. If your new dog suffers from certain diseases or does not conform to the standards of its breed, the law allows you to be compensated.
Redhibitory diseases and defects
Certain canine illnesses are defined by the Rural Code as redhibitory defects. In other words, the seller, whether a breeder or a pet store, must guarantee that the puppies he offers are free from these serious and disabling or even fatal pathologies. There are six of them, grouped under two categories: those which are contagious, for which the animal must be vaccinated, and those of hereditary origin.
Rubarth’s hepatitis and canine parvovirus, which can be fatal, both result in diarrhea and severe abdominal pain. You have 30 days or 15 days after the death of the puppy to bring an action for redhibition. As for distemper, whose symptoms are high fever, diarrhea and cough, but which is undetectable during the incubation period of the virus, you will need to prove that the contamination was well before the sale. For this, you will also have to act within 30 days after recovering the dog or 15 days after its death.
As for hereditary diseases, the time for action in redhibition is also set at 30 days after the sale, even if they are rarely detectable early and can only appear after several years. These are hip dysplasia, a form of severe osteoarthritis which gradually paralyzes the animal’s hindquarters and deprives it of its mobility, testicular ectopia, which designates the absence of one or two testicles and can progress to cancer in adulthood, and retinal atrophy, which can lead to loss of vision and particularly affects breeds such as Malamute, Irish Setter, Briard, Husky and Miniature Poodle.
To claim compensation, these diseases must have been observed by a veterinarian who will then draw up a “certificate of suspicion” to be presented within the time allowed.
The guarantee of conformity
Do you suspect a malformation in your puppy, or does he show symptoms identified by your veterinarian? Contact the seller first to see if you can find an amicable arrangement, in the form of a partial refund, for example. However, if he refuses to assume his responsibility, you can sue him before the civil courts. If you can invoke the redhibitory defects provided for by the Rural Code, these are quite limited and require you to act very quickly. You can also claim the much broader guarantee of conformity, which has applied since 2006 to the sale of pets.
The Consumer Code thus assimilates the acquisition of a dog from a breeder to an act of consumption. As with any property with defects, you can therefore ask the court to have the seller take the veterinary care at his expense, or even reimburse you for the price of your companion. All defects are taken into account here, whatever their origin (medical and behavioral).
Another scenario: if your animal, once an adult, has not been confirmed in the French Book of Origins – equivalent to the civil status register for purebred canines – because of certain physical defects, depriving you of any participation in canine shows or breeding for sale, you may also request a refund of half the price of your animal, provided that confirmation has been specified in the sales contract.
Whatever the situation you are faced with, go to the judicial court (former district court) of your place of residence with a veterinary certificate of suspicion.