New Jersey has recently banned pet leasing after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a bill that bars pet dealers from leasing dogs and cats. The states of New York, California and Nevada have also banned pet leasing.
Pet leasing is a controversial concept arguably out of step with high quality cat and dog guardianship and often it is a legalised scam as the customer – the person who signed the lease agreement – has no idea what they have signed.
“I was like, OK, what bills am I not going to pay now so I can make sure no one’s going to come to my door and take my dogs away?” – a lady who had signed a lease agreement not realising what it was.
They believe that they have signed a loan agreement allowing them to purchase an expensive cat or dog at a pet store but unbeknownst to them they have signed a pet lease agreement with a third party bank (the lender).
A pet lease agreement is like a car lease agreement. You never own the car or the cat. You pay through the nose for the privilege and if you had read the agreement it is probable that you would never have signed up to it.
They are expensive and, arguably, it is simply wrong to lease a companion animal as if ‘it’ is a commercial commodity to be traded like a manufactured product.
I would doubt that any person who signs such an agreement understands what they have signed up to because they are so damned expensive. They have been enticed into the deal by an exotic animal at the store which they can’t afford. The basic mantra is that if you can’t afford to buy and look after a cat or dog don’t do it and remember that looking after cats and dogs costs a lot more than buying one (around $15,000 or £15,000 plus over a lifetime)
My personal advice: don’t go near pet lease agreements. If you do want to buy a beautiful dog or cat at a pet store and need a loan to do it, please read the loan agreement word for word before signing it. Take your time. Take all the you need and ask questions like: “Is this a pet lease agreement?” Alternatively get a loan from your bank before you go into the pet store.
If you still want to go through with it, that’s okay but the general view is that they are a poor concept (from the point of view of the customer) and very expensive. Ask yourself whether you should go to a rescue center to adopt a cat or dog in need. They are just as good.
Putting aside for a moment the exorbitant cost of pet leasing, is it okay to lease a companion animal rather than own the animal? It depends. Do you become the owner after all the payments have been made? Under classic lease agreements the lessee hands back the item at the end of the lease and gets another item and starts again. Under the old hire purchase agreements at least you ended up as the owner after the last payment.
Can you be as good a cat or dog owner under a lease agreement as you can if you adopt a companion animal from a shelter or buy one outright in cash at the store?
I think that you might find that people who are interested in pet lease agreements are not really in tune with excellence in pet caretaking. They are more interested in owning a companion animal as a possession.
There is an interesting point to make however. We know that companion animal ‘owners’ never really own their animals (certainly so with regard to cats). It is more an arrangement between two sentient beings. This concept is more inline with leasing, strangely. And Mark Twain who was a genuine cat lover used to borrow cats and kittens over the summer to care for them. He recommended that form of relationship between animal and human. Just a thought.