State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) voted for a bill containing an amendment that would protect pets and pet buyers from animal leasing operations. Senate Bill 241, An Act Concerning The Penalty For The Intentional Injury Or Killing Of Police Animals Or Dogs In Volunteer Canine Search And Rescue Teams, now moves to the House of Representatives for a vote.

“The practice of leasing dogs and other pets is a relatively new phenomenon. However, problems with this practice have caused warnings to be issued by the Federal Trade Commission and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,” Sen. Boucher said. “These organizations warn that pet leasing can be unhealthy for the animal and financially unhealthy for the consumer.”

Sen. Boucher said the ASPCA warns that pet leasing, particularly short term leases, create a transient lifestyle. This can prevent a dog from being able to form attachments and result in the animal becoming aloof and even self-destructive.

The Federal Trade Commission warns that people may believe they are purchasing a pet only to learn that they are leasing the dog or cat. As a result, the buyers are now subject to making multiple payments that amount to hundreds or thousands of dollars more than they believed they were paying at unusually high interest rates.  Additionally, buyers do not own the pet until all payments are finalized, and they face the possibility of having the pet repossessed for nonpayment.

“Can you imagine falling in love with a beautiful furry face, bringing it home, and then learning that it can be taken away from you if you don’t continue to make hundreds of dollars in payments?” Sen. Boucher said. “And what happens when that wonderful animal becomes less loving and lovable as a result of being passed from human to human? What happens when the pet is no longer leasable? Sadly, I have heard stories that these once loving animals are euthanized when they can no longer make money for the leasing agent. These pets are treated like throwaway commodities instead of the living, breathing animals they are. Could anything be more cruel?”

Sen. Boucher said pet leasing represents a potentially predatory lending practice. Some people think they are buying the pet outright only to learn they have entered into a contract requiring them to make monthly payments. The high interest rates on these leasing contracts result in consumers paying hundreds, even thousands more for a pet than originally thought.

She looks forward to the House of Representatives joining the Senate to outlaw the practice in Connecticut.

Sen. Boucher represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.