Media Statement; Gov of WA; 7 Jul 2011
Consumer Protection 219 St Georges Terrace Perth Western Australia 6000 Tel: (08) 9282 0961 Fax: (08) 9282 085
A backyard dog breeder has settled action in the Supreme Court by undertaking not to sell diseased animals, or any animal which has not been vet-checked and vaccinated, in the first injunction action of its kind in Australia.
The legal action against Fay Marie Armstrong, by WA’s Commissioner for Consumer Protection, was the first to be brought under the new Australian Consumer Law (WA), which became fully active on 1 January 2011.
Ms Armstrong, who operates out of her home in Spearwood, signed an enforceable undertaking, which means she can only sell animals which have been certified as healthy by a vet, are vaccinated and free from illnesses such as parvovirus, hepatitis, distemper, parainfluenza and bordatellabronciosepta.
Commissioner from Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said the consequences of breaching these Supreme Court undertakings would be serious.
“Ms Armstong could face compensation orders and even imprisonment if she fails to sell only dogs that are in good health. She is now required to provide proper certification that confirms they are in good health” Ms Driscoll said.
“We felt this action against Ms Armstrong was necessary after numerous reports from consumers who had bought animals from her, only to find their new pets were dying, or very ill, with contagious diseases. Some had to have their pets put down, while others paid for expensive vet treatment.”
The Commissioner advised consumers to have animals they plan to purchase examined or certified by a veterinarian to help ensure they are healthy at the time of sale.
“Animals with diseases and health problems should not be sold to unsuspecting buyers and pets which have been given proper care should not die only a few weeks after purchase,” she said.
“Traders can argue that the animal may have contracted the condition after purchase so a pre-purchase health check is strongly recommended.
“Sellers of pets should understand that the offer of a refund of the purchase price is not always appropriate, as the buyer may have formed an emotional attachment to the pet and may not want to return it. Therefore, the trader should expect to be responsible for reasonable vet bills when conditions existed in animals at the time of sale.”
Businesses can find more information about their responsibilities under the Australian Consumer Law at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/consumerprotection. There is also advice about consumer rights, including an online publication called ‘A consumer’s guide to buying a pet’.
A hard copy of the brochure can be obtained by calling 1300 3040 54 or emailing email@example.com .
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(Consumer Protection is a division of the Department of Commerce)
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Alan Hynd 928 0961 or 0429078791 firstname.lastname@example.org