New York Is the Latest State to Reject Pet Leasing

September 25, 2018

Labrador puppies

We have good news to report for pets in New York! On September 24, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill outlawing the leasing of dogs and cats in New York. 

Puppies sold in pet stores, many of which are sourced from puppy mills, are often accompanied by soaring sticker prices. To make puppies appear more affordable, pet sellers partner with private lending companies to offer monthly financing plans, often padded with high hidden fees. 

Some of these “payment plans” are actually leases, making the puppy the property of the leasing company for the duration of the lease, which might last several years. These predatory, unethical financing plans benefit only the lending company and the pet seller—not the consumer, and certainly not the animal involved. And while pet leasing may not be well-known to the public, these schemes appear to be widely utilized by pet sellers. The New York Attorney General's Office recently brought legal action against one pet store chain, estimating that 25-30% of their pet sales involved leases.

The ASPCA has long warned consumers to be skeptical of pet stores and online sellers who may deceive them about the sources and health of the dogs they sell, and pet leasing is yet another example of the disregard retail pet sellers can have for the well-being of their animals. Just last week, the ASPCA filed a lawsuit against a New Jersey pet store, and the financing companies involved, for deceiving consumers with these exploitative arrangements. In addition to holding the pet store and leasing companies financially accountable, this suit will put the pet industry on notice that this deceptive practice is vulnerable to legal challenge in New Jersey and elsewhere.

Governor Cuomo’s signing of the bill, which was first passed by the state Legislature in June, makes New York the third state in the nation to pass a measure banning pet leasing. New York follows California and Nevada, which both outlawed the practice in 2017.

We want to thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important bill, as well as Senator Carl Marcellino and Assemblyman Matt Titone for passing this bill unanimously in the legislature in June. We are grateful for their continued leadership in animal welfare and protection by prohibiting pet leasing once and for all.

If you’d like to help pass animal protection laws like pet leasing bans in your state, please join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade.