Pet leasing, a recent phenomena in which owners pay for the pets they’veadopted in installments and thus do not “own” the dog until they’ve paid infull, has been banned in multiple states, and Florida and Michigan are set tojoin their numbers.
For some owners, leasing is a way to obtain high-priced purebred dogs withoutbreaking the bank. But that means risking their animal being taken away fromthem and rehomed elsewhere if they cannot make their payments. In addition,leased pets often have prices attached that are higher than if the animal wasbought outright. The Federal Trade Commission requires breeders or agenciesdisclose if they are leasing animals.
“That puts us in a bad position. It’s our job to make families and add pets tofamilies. We shouldn’t be used to force somebody to give their pet up,” HollyGuild, the Executive Director of the Humane Society of West Michigan, toldWZZM.
“Say the puppy costs $2,000. They are going to pay another $3,000 or $4,000 ininterest over the term of the lease. People that are financing a dog typicallydon’t have a lot of money sitting in the bank because if they did, theywouldn’t be financing, and that plays on the relationship with the dog.”
“If you are going to purchase an animal from a pet store, an online breeder,do your research,” Guild added.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has describedthis as a nationwide problem. Indeed, the practice has been banned inCalifornia, Indiana, New Jersey, Nevada, Connecticut, New York, and Washingtonstate. Pennsylvania has a law which will go before state legislatures duringupcoming sessions.
In Florida, State Senator Annette Taddeo has introduced anti-animal leasinglegislation.
Describing herself as “shocked” by the practice, she said, “They sign adocument, and lo and behold it was a lease.” She cited the example of a manwho called her office saying he’d leased a dog, paid three times its worth,and still did not own the animal.
“Someone could come to take the dog away at any time,” Liz McCauley, theexecutive director of Cape Coral Animal Shelter told WINK News. “Plus,something happens to the dog, it runs away, it passes away, you’re stillresponsible for paying for that dog.”
“Families should not be in fear that a beloved pet could be repossessed ifthey miss a payment. We support bills prohibiting pet leasing, but urgelegislators to go further and end the sale of puppy mill dogs by prohibitingtheir sale in pet stores,” John Goodwin, senior director of the Humane Societyof the United States’ Stop Puppy Mills campaign, said exclusively toNewsweek.
The Michigan and Florida bills have been introduced to the legislature andhave to pass both the state’s House and Senate and be signed into law by thegovernor.
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