If you thou ght a predatory car loan was bad, meet the predatory puppy loan! Natalie Sullivan thought she couldn’t afford he adorable Frenchton puppy she saw in a Brooklyn pet store, but the pet salesman talked her into a payment plan. However, when Sullivan got home and took a look at the fine print, she found that her $1350 puppy would actually cost closer to $3000 by the time it was all said and done. The kicker? If she failed to pay, the dog could be repossessed.
Libby Post, the executive director of the NY Animal Protection Federation is disgusted with the practice. “It’s a heinous thing. This kind of predatory lending should not involve a living, breathing being.”
Pet leasing, as the practice is called, has been drawing the ire of lawmakers and animal welfare groups alike. It has actually been outlawed already in Nevada and California, and New York is working on legislation that would explicitly prohibit using dogs or cats as collateral.
The pet leases are generally offered for purebred or designer dogs like the maltipoo because most people can’t afford the high price tags they garner. Pet dealers often push the leasing option to buyers because of need to sell the dogs in the puppy stage, while they are most attractive.
Wags Lending which launched in 2013 claims to have issues over 60k pet leases. The company states they do not charge interest on their loan but instead charge a monthly lease fee to compensate “the business for the decrease in the product’s fair market value while the customer is using the product.” However, “the product” isn’t a vacuum cleaner or high-def TV, it isn’t a “product” at all, it’s a dog or cat, something that is alive.
Although Wags Lending failed to comment on the pet loan practice, one of their financial contractors Monterey Financial Services did. “Under no circumstances has Monterey ever repossessed a pet, nor has Monterey ever intended to. The animal remains with the consumer even in the case of default.” Hopefully that is true, for the poor animal’s sake.