Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday signed legislation to prohibit the leasing of companion animals in New York.
The practice of leasing companion animals has resulted in balloon payments and predatory interest rates that lower income pet owners cannot afford. As a result, pets are repossessed, traumatizing both owners and their pets. The amended law will prohibit the use of a dog or a cat as security for payments in contracts and financing agreements with pet dealers.
“As I’ve learned firsthand, pets quickly become members of your family, and it is unconscionable that there are unscrupulous sellers who would use pets as collateral,” Governor Cuomo said. “I’m proud to sign this legislation that will end this predatory practice once and for all.”
Senator Carl Marcellino said, “Bringing a dog or cat home is both memorable and exciting. At that moment of purchase, the focus is on a new family member, not the fine print in the contract. Imagine the bewilderment of some customers when they find out months later they do not actually own their new pet, but instead, are locked into a rent-to-own scheme. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation into law, ensuring that no pet owner or pet have to experience this harmful practice ever again.”
Assemblyman Matthew Titone said, “We are not talking about cars or furniture here. These are our pets that we have opened our homes and hearts to. We cannot allow this practice, which commodifies our companions without much regard for their mental well-being – while also deceiving New Yorkers – to continue any longer. Pet leasing is a predatory practice that preys on people who cannot always afford a companion animal. This bill will finally put an end to this deceptive practice in New York.”
Bill Ketzer, Senior Director of State Legislation for the ASPCA, Northeast Region, said, “The ASPCA has long warned consumers to be skeptical of pet stores and online sellers who may deceive them about the sources and health of the dogs they sell, and pet leasing is yet another example of the disregard retail pet sellers can have for the well-being of their animals. These deceptive, predatory financing arrangements benefit only the lending company and the pet seller – not the consumer, and certainly not the animal involved. We are grateful to Governor Cuomo for his continued leadership in animal welfare and protection by prohibiting this practice once and for all.”