Indiana Becomes 4th U.S. State To Introduce New Law To Combat “Pet Leasing” Scams

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Earlier this month, Indiana lawmakers and Governor Eric Holcomb implemented H.B. 1447, a new law prohibiting deceptive financing schemes, known as “pet leasing.”

The bill, authored by Representative Woody Burton, now prohibits the “leasing and rental purchase agreements involving, live domestic animals.”

The fact that this option to take advantage of compassionate would-be pet parents even exists, is unfathomable! Pets are not property to be rented, like a house or car, nor should they ever be “owned” by a leasing company. Pets should also not be “sold” as property; they should be adopted as family members and never be treated as anything less than that.

WAN previously reported on this controversial issue in October of last year, noting that puppies sold in pet stores and online, most of whom are sourced from puppy mills, are often accompanied by soaring sticker prices. To make the puppies appear more affordable, pet sellers’ partner with private lending companies that offer leasing plans.

These agreements allow the consumer to make monthly payments over a fixed period of time and charge outrageously high fees and end up costing the unwitting buyer many times the animal’s original price.

Even worse, the new family does NOT legally own their dog.

Technically, the leasing company owns the dog for the entire length of the lease, which might last several years. At the end of the lease term, the family can own the dog outright for an additional payment.

Besides taking advantage of emotional consumers having a third party retain ownership of a pet, raises serious ethical questions about who is permitted to make important medical decisions on behalf of the animal.

“The ASPCA has long warned consumers to be skeptical of the pet stores and online sellers who may try to deceive them about the sources and health of the dogs they sell and pet leasing is just one more example of the disregard many pet stores have for the wellbeing of their animals,” Sana Azem, director of state legislation for the ASPCA, Great Lakes region, said in a statement. “These deceptive, predatory financing arrangements benefit only the lending company and the pet seller, not the consumer, and certainly not the animal involved.”

Fortunately, more cities and states throughout the country are banning the sale of pets in stores, opting only to feature adoptable dogs and cats from animal rescue organizations and shelters. Sadly, other unscrupulous breeders and sellers continue to take advantage of people through these kinds of pet leasing schemes.

Indiana is now only the fourth state to ban these predatory arrangements, after California, Nevada and New York. Other states must pass similar legislation for the safety of the animals, as well as, the people who want to grow their families with pets.

As always, WAN encourages people to Adopt Don’t Shop.

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