On Pet Patrol

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Department of Agriculture veterinarian Sam Lamb is checking out the puppies for sale at Carol’s Critters.

Dr. Sam Lamb says, "They should have a certificate for each dog or cat signed by a vet stating that they've been examined and healthy, essentially, and have the required shots."

Inspector Brett Lameier also looks to see that the animals are humanely treated.

Brett says, "We just check on their water, make sure everyone's got water in their pens, their pens are clean."

Carol Hoover’s pet shop passed this inspection. She says dealing with reputable breeders is key.

Carol says, "I know most of them by name. They’re in my rolodex. I pick up the phone and call them if I have a question or problem.

Inspectors say they find the most problems at flea markets where animal dealers often don’t have the required health certificate, but pet shops can have problems too.

The state’s received more than 100 complaints over the past two years from people who believe they were scammed or bought a pet that wasn’t healthy.

Pet store purchases are not cheap. A Pomeranian goes for $700, so you want to make sure you’re buying a healthy animal that’s the right fit for your home.

So along with checking for a health certificate, make sure the breed of animal is a good one for kids if there are children in the home, and it won’t get too big or too busy for its new owner.

State law allows you to return or exchange a pet or be reimbursed for medical expenses if a veterinarian says the animal is unhealthy within two weeks of purchase.