VOLUME 46, ISSUE 13
ISSUE DATE: JULY 7, 2014
LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
Proposed Amendment: N.J.A.C. 13:45A-12.3
Administrative Rules of the Division of Consumer Affairs
Sale of Animals
Required Practices Related to the Health of Animals and Fitness for Sale and Purchase
Authorized By: Steve C. Lee, Acting Director, New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
Authority: N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq., specifically 56:8-4 and 56:8-92 et seq.
Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement.
Proposal Number: PRN 2014-104.
Submit written comments by September 5, 2014, to:
Steve C. Lee
New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs
124 Halsey Street
PO Box 45027
Newark, NJ 07101
Or electronically at: www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/proposal/comment/.
The agency proposal follows:
The Division of Consumer Affairs (Division) proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:45A-12.3(a) relating to a consumer's recourse if a dog or cat purchased from a pet dealer is not fit for purchase. If a consumer obtains, within the time frames set forth in the rules, a veterinary certification stating that an animal purchased from a pet dealer is unfit for purchase, [page=1550] the consumer may seek reimbursement for monies expended for veterinary care incurred as of the date of the certification of unfitness. In the readoption with amendments of N.J.A.C. 13:45A at 43 N.J.R. 1130(a), 44 N.J.R. 166(b), the Division amended N.J.A.C. 13:45A-12.3(a)7 to increase from five to 14, the number of days after the consumer's receipt of the certification from the certifying veterinarian that a consumer has to deliver the certification of unfitness to the pet dealer from whom the consumer bought the pet. However, due to an oversight, the Division did not amend N.J.A.C. 13:45A-12.3(a)11, to reflect the expanded time frame in the form of written notice that a pet dealer must provide to a consumer prior to the delivery of an animal, setting forth the consumer's rights if an animal is certified to be unfit for purchase, thereby creating an inconsistency within the section.
Additionally, the notice set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:45A-12.3(a)11 directs a consumer who has purchased an animal certified to be unfit for purchase to submit within the same time frame both an itemized bill of all veterinary fees incurred prior to the consumer's receipt of the certification of unfitness, and the certification of unfitness, to the pet dealer from whom the consumer purchased the pet. But, N.J.A.C. 13:45A-12.3(a)7 does not establish a deadline for a consumer to submit an itemized bill of all veterinary fees; N.J.A.C. 13:45A-12.3(a)7 merely states that a pet dealer must accept receipt of a veterinary certification of unfitness delivered by the consumer within 14 days of the consumer's receipt thereof. This certification must contain, among other things, an itemized statement of veterinary fees incurred as of the date of certification. However, if a consumer brought a sick animal to an emergency veterinary clinic because his or her own veterinarian was unavailable and then subsequently brought the animal to his or her own veterinarian who certified that the animal was unfit for purchase, the consumer would have additional veterinary bills that the certifying veterinarian would have no direct knowledge of, and thus would be unable to certify to in the certification of unfitness. Because existing N.J.A.C. 13:45A-12.3(a)7 does not require that the consumer submit an itemized bill for any fees paid to a non-certifying veterinarian within a particular time frame, the consumer could submit these fees at any time, contrary to the intent of the statute. The consumer notice contemplates that an itemized statement of all veterinary fees from any source, incurred as of the date of certification of unfitness, as well as the certification of unfitness itself, be submitted to the pet dealer within the same time frame.
Because of these inconsistencies, the Division proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:45A-12.3(a)7 and 11 to make it clear that a consumer must submit, and a pet dealer must accept, both the veterinary certification of unfitness and an itemized statement of all veterinary fees incurred as of the date of the certification of unfitness, within 14 days of the consumer's receipt of the certification of unfitness from the issuing veterinarian. The amendment is consistent with the 14-day period provided for in N.J.S.A. 56:8-95.h.
The Division has determined that the comment period for this notice of proposal shall be 60 days. Therefore, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5, this notice of proposal is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement.
The Division believes that the proposed amendments will have a positive social impact because they will resolve inconsistencies between the form of notice and the rule.
The Division believes that because the proposed amendments clarify inconsistencies in the rule, and do not substantively change the rule, they will have no economic impact.
Federal Standards Statement
A Federal standards analysis is not required because the proposed amendments are not subject to any Federal standards or requirements.
The Division does not anticipate that the proposed amendments will increase or decrease jobs in the State.
Agriculture Industry Impact
The proposed amendments will have no impact on the agriculture industry in the State.
Regulatory Flexibility Statement
A regulatory flexibility analysis is not required because the proposed amendments do not impose reporting or recordkeeping requirements on small businesses. The proposed amendments do not impose any new compliance requirements on small businesses, as that term is defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq. The amendments merely resolve inconsistencies within the rule, as discussed in the Summary above.
Housing Affordability Impact Analysis
The proposed amendments will have an insignificant impact on affordable housing in New Jersey and there is an extreme unlikelihood that the proposed amendments would evoke a change in the average costs associated with housing because the proposed amendments resolve inconsistencies in the rule relating to the sale of dogs or cats to consumers by pet dealers.
Smart Growth Development Impact Analysis
The proposed amendments will have an insignificant impact on smart growth and there is an extreme unlikelihood that the proposed amenmdents would evoke a change in housing production in Planning Areas 1 or 2, or within designated centers, under the State Development and Redevelopment Plan in New Jersey because the proposed amendments resolve inconsistencies in the rule relating to the sale of dogs or cats to consumers by pet dealers.
Full text of the proposal follows (additions indicated in boldface thus; deletions indicated in brackets [thus]):
SUBCHAPTER 12. SALE OF ANIMALS
13:45A-12.3 Required practices related to the health of animals and fitness for sale and purchase
(a) Without limiting the prosecution of any other practices that may be unlawful under N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq., it shall be a deceptive practice for a pet dealer to sell animals within the State of New Jersey without complying with the following minimum standards relating to the health of animals and fitness for sale and purchase:
1.-6. (No change.)
7. The pet dealer shall accept receipt of a veterinary certification of unfitness and an itemized bill of all veterinary fees incurred prior to the consumer's receipt of the veterinary certification of unfitness that [has] have been delivered by the consumer within 14 days following the consumer's receipt [thereof, such] of the veterinary certification of unfitness from the issuing veterinarian. The certification [to] of unfitness shall contain the following information:
i.-ix. (No change.)
8.-10. (No change.)
11. A pet dealer shall give the following written notice to a consumer prior to the delivery of the animal. Such notice, signed by both the pet dealer and the consumer, shall be embodied in a separate document and shall state the following in 10 point boldface type:
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS--A STATEMENT OF
NEW JERSEY LAW GOVERNING THE
SALE OF DOGS AND CATS
. . .
In order to exercise these rights, you must present to the pet dealer a written veterinary certification that the animal is unfit for purchase and an itemized bill of all veterinary fees incurred prior to your receipt of the certification. Both of these items must be presented no later than [five] 14 days after you have received the certification of unfitness. In the event that the pet dealer wishes to contest the certification or the bill, he may request a hearing at the Division of Consumer Affairs. If the pet dealer does not contest the matter, he must make the refund or reimbursement not later than ten days after receiving the veterinary certification. Although your dog or cat is required to be examined by a licensed veterinarian prior to sale, symptoms of certain conditions may not appear until after sale. If your dog or cat appears ill, you should have it examined by a licensed veterinarian of your choice at the earliest possible time.
. . .
[page=1551] 12.-13. (No change.)