Buying a pet

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For many Australians, a pet is an important part of the family. Owning a pet can be extremely rewarding, but it is important to remember pet ownership is a big responsibility.

As a pet owner, you will provide for all of your pet’s requirements – food, exercise, housing, grooming and veterinary care. The RSPCA recommends careful planning, consideration and thorough research on the basics of pet care, before buying any new pet. This will give you a clear understanding of your responsibilities as a pet owner and will also help you decide which type of pet will be suitable for your family and your lifestyle.

If you decide to go ahead with purchasing a pet, it is also important to know your rights, as a consumer, under the law.

As a consumer, you have rights against the supplier if a purchase does not meet these guarantees - see the section of the A consumer’s guide to buying a pet brochure titled: If there is a problem – a consumer’s right to a remedy.

Once you take your new pet home and start to care for it, it’s likely you will form an emotional bond and become attached to it. It’s for this reason many pet owners decide to live with issues that become apparent in their pet after purchase. Thus, seeking the remedy you are entitled to by law may not be the most desirable outcome, especially if it involves returning your pet to the seller.

If you can, visit the animal in the place where it was born and meet its mother (and father too, if he’s around). This is the only way to be sure all the animals are well cared for and housed in good conditions. You can also get some idea of how big the animal will grow and what its temperament might be like. A good breeder breeds for healthy, happy and well-socialised animals and will welcome your visit to the breeding facility.

Get in touch with your local veterinarian for further advice on your pet’s health, subsequent vaccinations, worming, nutrition, desexing, microchipping, training and socialisation.

Pet Scams

Be cautious if you’re looking to buy a pet advertised online as scams are common on classifieds websites. The adverts often claim to have pedigree puppies for sale at a price well below market value (or for free) and offer to ship the puppy to your door from interstate or overseas. These scams usually ask you to wire transfer the payment to a bank account, often through a service like Western Union. In the end, no puppy is supplied and the payment is virtually impossible to trace. If in doubt, contact Consumer Protection or visit WA ScamNet        

Read before you buy!

There are many things to consider when bringing a new pet into your home. This publication has been produced to help explain your consumer rights and remedies when buying a pet and the questions to ask a seller before making a purchase. This will help ensure that you are prepared and well informed before purchasing a pet.

A consumer guide to buying a pet

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