ASPCA Commends Indiana Gov. Holcomb for Signing Bill to Ban Pet Leasing

New law prohibits predatory financing schemes that leave consumers and animals at great risk
May 2, 2019

NEW YORK–The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends Indiana lawmakers and Gov. Eric Holcomb for enacting a new law (H.B. 1447) prohibiting deceptive financing schemes known as pet leasing. Indiana is now the fourth state to ban these predatory arrangements, after California, Nevada and New York.

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 but charge outrageously high fees and end up costing the unwitting buyer many times the animal’s original price. Even worse, the new family doesn’t 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, of course. 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,” said Sana Azem, director of state legislation for the ASPCA, Great Lakes region. “These deceptive, predatory financing arrangements benefit only the lending company and the pet seller—not the consumer, and certainly not the animal involved. We thank the Department of Financial Institutions and Representative Woody Burton for including this critical language in their bill, and we are grateful to Governor Holcomb for signing this legislation to protect consumers and pets from these predatory financing arrangements.”

During the 2019 legislative session state lawmakers also approved H.B. 1615, which bans the use of gas chambers on animals and strengthens protections for shelter animals in Indiana. 

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