NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s not uncommon to lease or rent things like cars, homes, or even furniture.
But what if we told you pets are now being added to the list?
A growing number of breeders and pet stores are doing it, but as CBS2’s Kristine Johnson explained, not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.
“Our previous dog was hit by a car on Valentine’s Day,” Angela Kyme said.
With heartbroken kids at home Kyme said she thought Harley could help ease their pain. Then she realized she couldn’t afford the lab’s $2,000 price tag.
The breeder, Kyme said, suggested she opt for a special loan, which she understood to work like a credit card.
“They bring in this paperwork for me to sign on a tablet that I couldn’t read, and I was told it’s all your basic contract,” she said.
What Kyme failed to understand was that instead of getting a loan she was actually leasing the dog from a company called Wags Lending.
After 23 monthly installments, she would have the option to buy the dog for an additional payment.
“By the time I would be done paying for her, I would be paying almost $5,000,” said Kyme.
According to Wags Lending’s website, the company has leased as many as 66,000 pets, enabling people who couldn’t otherwise afford a pedigree to take one home.
“This is okay for an appliance or a car. The fact of the matter is, dogs are not cars,” Susan Riggs, ASPCA said.
Riggs has a big problem with the pet leasing model.
“There’s a lot of blurred lines when it comes to leasing a dog or cat,” she said.
For starters, customers often don’t understand that they’re actually renting the pet, not buying it. This can come with hefty interest rates, and ultimately cost two to three times the original price.
Additionally, the leasing company technically owns the animal until it’s paid off, meaning it can be repossessed if payments are missed.
California Assemblywoman Anna Caballero introduced a measure that would make all leasing contracts null and void in her state.
“Pets are not an appropriate consumer good to be financed in this manner, subject to repossession. It’s bad public policy,” she said.
Kyme wasn’t about to lose a second dog, so she paid Harley’s lease off early. She said she definitely feels taken advantage of, and doesn’t want the same thing to happen to others.
“I just hope that it would go nationwide and become illegal,” she said.
As of January 1, the practice will be outlawed in California. Neither of the two national leasing companies — Wags Lending or My Pet Funding, returned a request for comment.