Should a breeder be held accountable for internal defects?

Reading a post today has got me wondering: Should a breeder be held accountable for a defect that is not visably seen, such as bowel stricture, heart, kidney, liver defect or deficiency? Can you hold a breeder accountable for something that is a genetic defect that is health related and for how long…3 months, 6 months, a year, the life of the animal…? This feels like a slippery slope, could you hold the breeder accountable if the female only lays slugs, never produces eggs, if the male is sterile??? If you have read this post please do not comment with the breeders name this post is just about the ethics of this type of situation NOTHING MORE.


Personally I don’t think so. That’s the risk you take when working with/buying live animals. There’s also no way to prove or make a distinction between a genetic defect and a multifactorial defect (caused by both genetics and environment together). The breeder should help pay some of the cost or replace the animal. Though I don’t think it’s a requirement for the breeder. However I do think that a breeder should be held accountable for care problems. For example if a week after you buy a reptile and it shows symptoms of an RI or MBD then it lies on the breeder because those problems can’t form in a week after purchasing, they have to be previously diseased. However those kinds of problems aren’t genetic.


I agree with eire-herps. The only thing a Seller should be responsible for is the health of the animal in so much as their husbandry and care haven’t permitted a virus or bacterial situation to take hold. Also I feel that a Seller should be accountable for any visible physical defects, such as a missing eye, kink, shark mouth, etc., if the photo or photos they use to market the animal, should hide or mask the defect. Beyond that, it is pretty much “Caveat Emptor”


So you feel a breeder should replace or refund cost of an animal that you have had for over a year in your care that just dies without knowing why…

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Absolutely not. I offer a healthy arrival guarantee. That means that the animal is guaranteed to be healthy when it ARRIVES. Anything that happens with the animal further down the road is not covered. This does not mean that I wouldn’t be willing to work with a customer on a case by case basis. However, all that I guarantee is that the animal is healthy when it arrives.


This situation is exactly why sales agreements are important. Simple, precise, and mandatory.
I’m not convinced that the animal being referenced here actually has a genetic defect, but even if it did, several months down the road in a snake that was already several months old at the time of sale disqualifies the buyer from any type of compensation in my opinion. At some point, the animal belongs to the buyer - and in reptiles that point is pretty close to the time of posession.


For most cases, no. However I think some rare exceptions like liver failure after a couple months (with verified necropsy) for example. I don’t think the breeder is required to pay for any costs though as a breeder it would be the responsible thing to at least help pay for some costs. However egg laying or many months later there shouldn’t be any responsibility after the years it takes to mature. It’s not the breeders fault if a certain morph is sterile and it’s not the breeders fault that an animal can’t breed years later. Some problems that aren’t all genetic like RI or MBD the breeder should pay for costs or replace the animal. Diseases like that the breeder is at fault for not caring for their animal and the buyer shouldn’t have to suffer the effects of that. However for problems like these I don’t think a guarantee should extend beyond a few weeks, not very long.


This question is why I decided not to breed my reptiles till this year. Not for the genuine questions… But there are people out there that wan’t things for free and will do anything to get it.

All breeders should breed for the love of it, not the money and therefore health should be good, but sometimes that isn’t the case.

You have to bare in mind that the breeder might not even know there is a generic issue if its not apparent in the parents. I would recommend telling them so it doesn’t happen to anyone else but you would need vets to confirm it was genetic plus you would need to evidence that it wasn’t caused during your care which again could be very hard.

I agree,I believe every breeder should have a reasonable health guarantee but they can’t be held for poor breeding, they might not know, hopefully they would say if they did know but again it’s hard to prove. I suppose that’s the difference between buying from a breeder and a shop. Shops give you longer guarantees but then they can’t always offer as much info on the reptile either.

I want to point out, I’m just answering generally, each case is different.


I think it depends on the situation.

If it is a one-off and there is no way the breeder could have known, I do not see the breeder as being liable for it any more than a dog breeder is liable if, four years after the purchase, the dog they sold suddenly develops liver cirrhosis.

If, however, there is some evidence that the condition is known, like if the animal came from a pairing that the breeder has done previously and at least one baby from every previous clutch developed the condition, then I could see the breeder being responsible to a degree. In this case, the breeder knows there is a problem with the pairing but chose to repeat it.

This is not a purely theoretical for me as I have an alterna that developed a kidney tumour at age twelve. It never even occurred to me to demand a replacement animal from the breeder but I did email him to let it know it had happened so he could have a record of it


I feel if its a disease the breeder has no way of knowing then in no way is the breeder responsible. The buyers need to understand that there is always a risk buying anything alive no matter who or how big the breeder is.

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