©2019 by North Carolina Voters for Animal Welfare

The Barker Law

North Carolina Puppy Lemon Law

Labradoodles are an adorable “designer mix” of a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle.  


The AKC doesn’t register designer breeds as “purebreds” and only offer AKC Canine Partner’s registrations for mixed breed dogs to participate in sporting events.  So breeding organizations have cropped up to give some “legitimacy” to these “mixed-breed purebreds” in order to allow their “registered breeders” to charge premium prices for their puppies.


And that is where Matt and Shannon Barker found themselves when they simply wanted to get a healthy Labradoodle puppy.

Shannon writes:


About a month ago, My husband and I were looking for a purebred Labradoodle puppy for our family and we saw an ad in the Raleigh News and Observer. We called the breeder and went to see the puppies. When we got to the breeder’s house, he took us to his back yard and the horrible odor was almost too much to take. There were dog pens everywhere, at least 60 dogs & puppies. The dogs were very dirty, living in very poor and unhygienic conditions. We picked out one and felt we were saving her from these conditions. The breeder gave us shot records that he had given himself from Tractor Supply, he stated. At 4 weeks old they were given their first Parvo vaccine. We were also given papers to register them with ICA. (The parents are registered).

A week later, after experiencing the joy from our first pup we decided we needed to save her sister. She looked like the runt, but was still adorable to us.

Unfortunately we did not know any better. 


Upon our drive home, the second pup was sick and throwing up. She continued to get worse and within a week, we took both pups to the vet to find out that both had Parvo. The vet said the breeder shouldn’t have given any shots before 6 weeks and that he must have known there was a Parvo outbreak and that’s why he gave them the shots so early. We had to put the really sick puppy down only a week after getting her. Our whole family was there sobbing as we had fallen in love with our new family members. 


We called the breeder, told him what happened, and asked for the $1200 back for that pup and asked if he would he be willing to help with the vet bills. His response was “it’s not my problem . . . take me to court.” 

Since this happened, we’ve been working hard to save the other puppy, which has incurred vet bills as well. In all we are over $1700 in vet bills.

This is heartbreaking that unethical breeders such as this are allowed to continue in our state. These animals are suffering!

Matt & Shannon Barker

Yes – these animals ARE suffering.  And the lack of common sense dog breeding regulations continues to exacerbate the needless suffering of these animals, as well as the emotional and financial impact upon innocent animal lovers who simply want a specific type of puppy.  A healthy puppy to enhance their lives for many years to come.


22 states in the United States have some type of “animal lemon law” legislation to prevent innocent citizens from being victims of unscrupulous, abusive, unregistered, uninspected puppy mills.   Even South Carolina has a law protecting the buyers of sick or genetically impacted puppies. 

Most of you know we have tried many avenues to pass a puppy mill bill, which included regulation and licensing laws as suggested in the comments. One of the bills followed the AKC regulations for their breeders and it failed. They ALL failed to pass. A lot of you are well aware of WHY they failed to pass. If we have to take baby steps to get protection for the animals, we will go that route, but one of our main goals is ALWAYS going to be to pass regulations and restrictions on puppy mills! And to one day be able to shut all illegal, unregulated, abusive puppy mills DOWN. However – as MANY states have done – passing this type of bill to get ANY small win to help the animals trapped in puppy mills is a WIN for the animals. 

By passing this law, the breeding animals will have to be taken better care of or the breeder will be fined MIGHTILY for selling sick dogs. Provisions in the bill are to require the breeder to refund the money paid for the puppy, as well as to reimburse veterinary bills up to 100% of the sale price of the dog or MORE in extreme cases. Our bill does not exclude "backyard breeders". It doesn't differentiate between pet stores and independent breeders who sell directly.

Rutgers University wrote: The puppies are being mistreated and suffering many forms of abuse because of the holes in the existing laws. Only the puppy supplier benefits from the laws most time. Our solution to this problem is to create one universal puppy lemon law that all states will be mandated to abide by. It will be a combination of strong points of some of the better current lemon laws and also very crucial original points that are left out of almost all of them. This stable strong bill will not allow for breaches or loopholes, and will hopefully urge consumers to stray away from puppy mills and stores, and to ultimately adopt puppies from shelters.


The Barkers and North Carolina Voters for Animal Welfare are requesting that the North Carolina General Assembly pass “The Barker’s Law” legislation to prevent these unscrupulous breeders from continuing to take advantage of animal lovers by overcharging them for unhealthy puppies, refusing to take responsibility for the puppies they sell, and from abusing these breeding dogs and puppies by not giving them proper veterinary care.

CONTRIBUTE now to help fund this campaign.  

The full law will be published here next week.