Puppy contracts: why you need them

Majority of puppy buyers and sellers in the Philippines do not have puppy contracts or purchase agreements. In fact, some people are turned off by those breeders or buyers who ask for a contract or sales agreement, thinking of it as an insult or something that is just too inconvenient to deal with. Written agreements are practically unheard of, and no one really thinks about these things until problems come up. 

Unfortunately, issues arise every so often. If the number of messages and calls I get asking for advice are any indication, these happen all the time. Here are some simple situations that could have been addressed by a simple written agreement:

Deposit/reservation fee concerns – Some breeders require a deposit from prospective buyers. In some instances, a buyer decides to back out and asks for his money back. Some breeders may refuse to issue a refund, leading to a disagreement between the two parties if this issue was never discussed in the first place. A written agreement could have clarified this from the start.

Health issues – What if the puppy turns out to have a sudden health problem? This is probably one of the most common problems we read about in Facebook dog groups. Depending on what the health issue is and when this is observed, this can be a complicated problem. For instance, if a puppy begins to poop blood the next day, then it is obvious that this dog got sick while it was still with the seller/breeder. But what if parvo symptoms appear on the 12th day, when the puppy could have picked up the disease with either the new owner or the breeder? What if there are congenital issues that are only discovered when the dog is an adult?  A written agreement could make things simpler for the buyer and the seller by addressing these concerns in detail.

Stud issues –  Breeding is a game of chance, and so many factors come into play that could affect the outcome of a planned breeding. This creates a lot of scenarios that need to be discussed. If a mating takes place but the bitch does not become pregnant, will free back studs be accommodated? What if nothing comes out of repeated matings? When will the stud owner sign the registration papers? A written agreement is even more necessary if payment for stud services will be by way of puppy sharing (which is really a complicated matter in my opinion, and which I will not advise people not to do unless they know the other party very very well.)

As you can imagine, there are many other situations other than the three mentioned above that warrant a written agreement. For some people, screen shots of their conversation with the other party serves as a record of their transaction and conversation. While this may serve its purpose, it would still be better to formalize the agreement. A simple written document or a handwritten one will do.

I have signed a number of contracts with breeders in the US and Germany. I have found that contracts gives me peace of mind by spelling out the accountability of the breeder, alongside mine. I am not the litigious type of person, and I do not wish to go to court over anything, but I find solace in knowing that the other party is willing to put forth his or her signature on an actual contract.

I realize that many of us find contracts too burdensome. However, in this life, we just have to be aware that some people do not know what “word of honor” means. This is when written agreements prove helpful. Although they may appear to make things seemingly more complicated, they actually simplify life.

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