New York State makes it Illegal to Lease Dogs and Cats

There was a time not too far in the distant past when you could find a dog or cat to adopt as a house pet in many cases, for free. There were many strays and unwanted dogs and cats roaming the streets. In the present day, not just anyone can own a pet. Most shelters and caring breeders require applicants for adoption to pass a stringent background check to ensure that the home will be safe for the pet. In addition to this, the cost of adopting is high, often as much as $250 to $350 from the Humane Society and Shelters and purebred dogs cost into the hundreds and thousands of dollars even. Some people are lonely and desperate for the companionship of a pet and those who can’t afford to purchase one outright enter into an agreement to purchase a dog or cat or other types of pets through a lease to own program.

The State of New York rules it’s illegal to lease dogs and cats

In September of 2018, the legislation that will make it illegal to lease dogs and cats was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. It will take 90 days for the ban to officially go into effect from the September 24th sign date. How it works is that the company or owner that offers the pet for lease agrees to accept monthly payments from the buyer and these contracts can go on for several years. The pet remains the property of the leasing company or seller until the final payment is made. This is a mutual agreement between two parties and it’s carried out as though the animals involved are no different than things, or inanimate objects. If the owner has financial difficulties and cannot carry through with the payments, legally, the pet is the property of the seller. This means that they have the right to repossess the animal as though it were a car or house and sell it to the next buyer.

Cruelty to animals?

According to animal rights activists and many other people, this act falls into the category of cruelty to animals. Leasing pets to potential owners was a legal act but it won’t be in late December of 2018. At least, not in New York State. When you look at it from the pet owner’s perspective, an animal that they form a relationship and grow attached to can be taken away from them if they fall on financial hard times and fail to make a payment. From the animal’s point of view, they are helpless pawns in the transactions and they have no say. They become attached to a loving owner who gives them the love, care, and attention that they require, only to be removed from their homes and placed with strangers. Dogs and cats have feelings too, and the leasing business does not seem to take that into consideration. It’s cruelty in the highest form.

New York isn’t the only state with a ban in place

There are two other states that have outlawed the leasing of animals. Nevada and California’s bans are very similar. If it were not for people concerned about these helpless animals who cannot speak for themselves, this barbaric leasing process would continue, to the detriment often, of the pets and buyers involved. If you live in the states of New York, California or Nevada, pet leasing is strictly prohibited and anyone caught doing so will be held responsible for breaking the law.

Final thoughts

While the majority of breeders are responsible and caring professionals, there are unscrupulous folks who operate puppy mills all in the name of making a dollar. If your state does not currently have a ban in place on the lease of pets, there is something you can do about it. If this practice concerns you, contact your local representative to start the process of petitioning for the ban in your area. You will be helping to put a stop to a practice that crowds the line of ethics and human decency. While some breeders who allow payment plans may think that they’re helping to connect a pet with a loving family, it’s not a bad idea, unless they plan to repossess the animal if payments aren’t made.


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