Reps Madden, McNeill to reintroduce banning pet leasing

HARRISBURG, APRIL 18 – States Reps. Maureen Madden, D- Monroe, and Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, are circulating a legislative memo requesting cosponsors to reintroduce their pet safety legislation.

The representatives want to stop pet stores from luring customers into buying cute but expensive pets through lease agreements.

Under the terms of lease contracts, customers enter into a long-term payment agreement, which often results in them paying far more than what they would have by purchasing the pet outright, with large balloon payments at the end of the lease.

“Unfortunately, customers eventually discover that they were deceived when they signed the pet lease,” Madden said. “Sadly, when a customer lacks the financial ability to make a payment, their pet is repossessed and often finds its way back to a shelter.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission, pet leasing is not considered illegal; however, companies may be held responsible since they have an obligation to clearly state that customers are entering into a lease agreement.

“We need to protect pet owners from the unnecessary stress and trauma of losing a pet should they be unable to make payments and lose a pet due to repossession,” McNeill said. “For many of us, pets are more than just companions, they are family.”

Madden said other states such as California, Nevada and New York have enacted legislation to ban the practice.

Madden and McNeill said they plan to hold a news conference on the legislation in the near future.