The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the pet leasing practice began around 2013, with a Nevada-based company said it would transfer its debt to Monterey after the animal was “bought.” According to the ASPCA, consumers do not interact with these companies during the application process, and the word “lease” is not mentioned in promotional materials.
“We’ve heard stories of pet stores simply handing the consumer a tablet to initialize and sign — so consumers don’t see the full contract until the first payment is due — which is often done through automatic withdrawal,” Kevin O’Neill, vice president president of state affairs for ASPCA, said in a statement Thursday. “By then the dog will be in their house.”
As officials became more aware of the practice, states began banning it. Since 2017, eight states have passed laws specifically prohibiting pet leasing — California, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Nevada, New York and Washington, according to the ASPCA. prohibits the sale of pets.
People lease pets for many reasons. Unlike dogs sold in shelters, dogs from pet stores can be expensive, sometimes costing thousands of dollars. In other cases, such as Mrs. Ortiz-Sierra’s, the buyer does not understand the financial terms of the contract, that the dog can be taken back with failed payments.
These arrangements require the individual to make monthly payments for the duration of the lease and often have to make an additional payment at the end to finally own the dog, Ms Healy said. Her office has investigated financial companies that have established or purchased dog leases, she said.
Animal rights advocates such as the ASPCA have criticized the practice. The group said in July 2018 that pet leasing is “predatory schemes,” often filled with hefty fees and hefty fines that could end up costing buyers many times the original price tag.
“Pet stores have long used the emotional connection people feel with puppies to lure customers in, but the cost of buying those animals — often several thousand dollars — can still deter buyers,” wrote Matt Bershadker, the group’s CEO. , at the time. , when New York considered banning dog and cat leasing, which it did months later.