ASPCA Commends New Jersey Lawmakers for Passing Bill to Ban Pet Leasing

New law prohibits predatory financing schemes that leave consumers and animals at great risk
June 27, 2019

NEW JERSEY–The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends New Jersey lawmakers for passing a bill to prohibit deceptive financing schemes known as pet leasing. Sponsored by Assemblymembers John Armato and Raj Mukherji, and Sens. Vin Gopal and Kristin Corrado, A.4552/S.3531 now heads to Gov. Phil Murphy for his consideration.

Pet stores and online puppy sellers offer pet leasing schemes to make high-priced puppies appear more affordable. Consumers may think they are opting for a standard payment plan, but many of these arrangements are actually leases where the consumers are required to make inflated monthly payments while the leasing company retains ownership of the dog. At the end of the lease, the consumer is required to make an additional payment if they want to keep their beloved family pet. 

“Few consumers are aware of how these financing arrangements are set up, and the word ‘lease’ is typically not mentioned during the transaction, so consumers are manipulated to believe they already own the dog or cat they bought,” said Debora Bresch, senior director of state legislation for the ASPCA, Upper Atlantic region. “We thank the bill sponsors for their commitment to ending the inhumane practice of pet stores teaming up with private lenders to deceive consumers while they amp up profits for puppy mills, and we urge Governor Murphy to sign this bill into law.”

Most puppies sold in pet stores and online come from commercial breeding operations that prioritize profit over the wellbeing of the animals. Dogs at these facilities often spend their entire lives in small, dirty, wire cages without adequate access to food, water and veterinary care or socialization. As a result, many of them suffer severe health and behavioral issues, and families are often unprepared for the financial loss and heartbreak that come with buying a sick puppy.

“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 Bresch. “Besides taking advantage of emotional consumers, having a third party retain ownership of a pet creates uncertainty regarding who is permitted to make important medical decisions on behalf of the animal.”

Five states have already enacted legislation banning the deceptive practice of pet leasing – California, Indiana, Nevada, New York and Washington. The Connecticut General Assembly recently passed a bill to prohibit these predatory financing arrangements, and that bill is awaiting a signature from Gov. Ned Lamont.

For more information about the ASPCA’s efforts to protect dogs in commercial breeding facilities or to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit