New York looks at banning "pet leasing." Wait... people are leasing dogs?

This story from CBS New York initially caught my eye because the title seemed so unbelievable. “New York Lawmakers Looking To Ban ‘Pet Leasing’”, it read. The Empire State passes a lot of onerous (or sometimes just silly) regulations on a regular basis, so little that the state legislators do is able to shock me anymore. But leasing pets? Is that really a thing?


It turns out that it is, but not in the way you might think. I was unable to find any sort of business that specifically leases out dogs and cats as pets, though you can rent horses or mules and other draft animals. You can rent a drug-sniffing dog, but it comes with a handler and you don’t get to keep it. There are cats for rent, but only if you need to get rid of mice and rats at your house or barn.

But surely not pets, right? As I alluded to above, this is something that’s going on, but most of the people taking in the dogs are unaware that they are leasing them. They sign a contract to purchase an expensive breed of canine and pay it off over time (or so they think) but the fine print in the paperwork says that the animal is actually only being leased until such time as they complete the contract and then pay an additional “buy out” option costing hundreds of dollars.

Pet leasing, or the practice of paying off a dog or cat as you would a car, could soon be illegal in the state of New York.

Danielle Cittadino of Baldwin considers her golden retriever, Max, part of the family. Cittadino agreed to spread out the payments for Max with her pet store however, the arrangement could possibly cause problems with her financing company.

The dog owner recently found out that the company considers Max a product; meaning he could have to be returned if she defaults on the payments.

“I looked at the papers again and said ‘Whoa, wait, what is going on? This is a lease?’” Cittadino recalled.

This sounds like some seriously devious marketing, so in a rare case of supporting the nanny state, I could see either ceasing this practice or at least forcing the finance company to be far more transparent about what the customer is signing up for.


But that’s not really the big issue here. Are you really so desperate to have a specific breed of designer dog that you’re going to lay out the kind of money most people spend on cars to get one? The question is even more on point if you don’t actually have the money to buy the dog. You’re putting yourself in debt for thousands of dollars and leaving the dog with an uncertain future. Dogs and cats are supposed to be members of our family. This just sounds like a terrible idea.

Besides, why are all of these expensive designer dogs being picked up when there are so many wonderful animals waiting for you at the local shelters? It’s true that they’re not free, but adoption fees are frequently less than 200 dollars, and sometimes as little as fifty. (They have to take in some cash to keep the shelters operating.) Chances are you won’t have to take out a loan from a scheister to bring one home, either.

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