BOLTON LANDING – Citing the potential for scams that hurt poor people, Gov. Cuomo signed a new law banning the leasing of pets in New York.
Cuomo, who recently adopted a dog he named Captain, said the practice of leasing companion animals has resulted in predatory lending and balloon payments that many lower income pet owners didn’t understand and can’t afford, which can end up with the animals being cruelly repossessed.
The new law, which was sponsored by Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Nassau County) and Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-Manhattan) prohibits the use of dogs and cats as collateral.
“As I’ve learned firsthand, pets quickly become members of your family, and it is unconscionable that there are unscrupulous sellers who would use pets as collateral,” Cuomo said in signing the bill.
The bill sponsors say some pet buyers who couldn’t afford to buy a pet outright were entering into lease agreements where they would make payments to the seller over several months. Often they were charged high interest rates by the dealers, who legally owned the pets until the contract terms were fully met.
“Imagine the bewilderment of some customers when they find out months later they do not actually own their new pet, but instead are locked into a rent-to-own scheme,” Marcellino said.
New York follows California and Rhode Island in banning the practice.
“We are not talking about cars or furniture here,” Titone said. “These are our pets that we have opened our homes and hearts to.”
The ASPCA hailed the signing of the legislation.