1.Why have a contract? For quality reputable breeders, it is to protect the buyer, seller and the puppy/dog. It is a clear agreement for both the breeder and the buyer that both understand and agree to.
2.Are Contracts Legally binding?
To be enforceable by a court, every contract (whether written or oral) must meet several requirements to protect the buyer and the seller.
A. Consideration. Each party, (buyer and seller) has to promise or provide something of value to the other party. Without this exchange, there is no contract.
B.Offer and acceptance. There must be a clear or definite offer to the contract and an unqualified acceptance.
C.Legal purpose. It must not violate the law.
D.Capable parties. To be “capable” of making a contract, both parties must understand what they are doing.
E.Mutual assent. This is also referred to as “a meeting of the minds”. The parties must intend to be bound by their contracts and must agree on the essential terms.
In addition to these general rules, federal and state laws may also impose more requirements.
Each contract is unique to each individual transaction, but there are clauses that should figure into 99% of any dog/puppy sale contract.
As they say, the devil is in the details. The Contract should have price, conditions of the sale, the payment, the return of the dog, etc.
This section is quite clear and there is not much to say about it.
Quite clear also, I accept Cash only on the day of pick up. I do not take Credit Cards, PayPal or other forms of payment.
How dog is to be picked up / delivery:
I do not ship puppies, so it is clear to the buyer in the beginning that the puppy will need to be picked up at my home and the contract signed, all paperwork gone over.
Right to Return:
Every contract should include an X number of days for the buyer to return the puppy in case of a medical defect. In my Contract, I allow the buyer to return for any reason with a full refund.
Rehoming of the Dog/Puppy:
Some breeders want their dog back, if at any stage during their life. I am one of those breeders.
The Contract should include all other Conditions of the Sale.
Neuter/Spay agreement, updated Buyer information (in case they move), etc.
Your Contract should include all the puppy details. Name of Dog, Sex, Date of Birth, Color, Sire, Dam, Microchip Number, & DNA Profile if available.
Ideally, you should have a lawyer proof read your contract. Since I own a Flooring Company, I do have a lawyer on retainer and he did draw up my contract.
The last section of the contract should contain any Health Warranty you offer and your contract should be dated and signed by both parties. I read my contract with the buyer and have them initial and date each section so there are no misunderstandings. After signing, both seller and buyer keeps a copy. I go over the contract, we both sign and then I print a copy for the buyer and place in their 3 ring binder that I have made up for them to take home with their puppy.
Red Flags in a Contract
If the language in the contract is all one sided, to only protect the seller, in most cases the contract is not legally binding. Remember there must be consideration for both parties.
Guarantee in a contract. No breeder can offer you a guarantee, they cannot assure you nothing will ever go wrong or happen to your dog/puppy.
In my last blog I covered Non-refundable deposits, please stay away from any Irish Wolfhound breeder that will not refund your money for any reason. There are a few Irish Wolfhound Puppy Mills that accept more payment options than I do with my Flooring Company. Cashier’s Check, Postal Money Order, Personal Check, Cash, Direct Bank Wire, Pop Money, PayPal, The Square, they will also accept a Credit Card over the phone.
Contracts that contain demands for you to feed a certain food, restrictions to social media, allowing the seller to trespass on your property without your consent or knowledge, generally is not legally binding. Contracts that require you purchase a product such as NuVet Plus for a period of time or the life of your dog is generally not legally binding. If you are sent a contract to review from a seller, please take the time to thoroughly read it and if possible have a lawyer review it.
I have a copy from the largest Irish Wolfhound Puppy Mill in the United States. It is 6 pages long and filled with the most onerous and ridiculous language I have ever read in a contract. I sent it to my lawyer and quite frankly after he quit laughing, he advised he was the worst contract he had ever read. The absolute worst item for me is:
Client agrees to pay MIWR $22.00 a day for boarding once puppy is past the age of 57 days old and has not been shipped or picked up as scheduled. No exceptions.
I personally find this to be outrageous.
Lastly, remember the Contract should be a clear outline of what is required by both parties and it is my personal belief, that it should always protect the puppy/dog.