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NY Lawmakers say… Leave the Leasing to Cars

You walk in and right away it catches your eye. It’s so beautiful, you know you just have to get it. Then you see the sticker price and the shock sets in. You think to yourself, “I don’t have that kind of money”… but the salesperson, seeing your hesitation says, “don’t worry, you can take that puppy home for as little as $50 a month through our special program.” The problem is, we’re not talking about a car, we’re talking about leasing an actual puppy. Pet sellers have been teaming up with private lending companies to offer low monthly payments over a fixed period of time, to allow people to get the companion animals they want without paying the full price all at once. However, what most people don’t realize is that many times this is not a “sales” agreement, it’s a high interest, “leasing” arrangement. This means that even when they’ve made their last payment, the family does NOT own their pet. At the end of the lease term, the customer will still have to buy the pet in order to actually own it. Several New York State lawmakers say they have problems with these arrangements and have introduced legislation aimed at prohibiting the practice of leasing companion animals.

NYS Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D – Staten Island), the author of the legislation, says, “Pet leasing is a predatory practice that preys on people who cannot always afford a companion animal. Many do not understand they are entering into a lease agreement for an animal for multiple months. In the process, these individuals are forced to pay far more than they realized.” Titone adds, “These high interest lease arrangements mean the adopting family does not legally own their new pet until all terms of the lease are met and in many cases an extra payment is made.” Co-sponsor, NYS Assemblyman Dean Murray (R – East Patchogue), says this also raises other ethical concerns. “Under these arrangements, could an animal actually be repossessed by a lender if payments are missed?” asked Murray. “What if the animal runs away or gets sick midway through the lease… what happens to an older animal that the lender can’t lease? These are not cars, they are not objects, they are living, breathing, beloved members of the family,” added Murray. This proposed legislation would change existing law and put to an end the deceptive practice of pet leasing in New York State. Rhode Island and California have already outlawed this financial scheme.

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NYS Assemblyman                NYS Assemblyman
Matthew Titone                     Dean Murray

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