Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito is calling on New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to help end the “dogged” practice of pet stores duping customers into expensive leasing contracts when the customers believed they were financing the purchase of a dog or cat. Joined at the press conference by Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, New York State Assemblywoman Missy Miller, Assemblyman Ed Ra and Assemblyman Brian Curran, Councilman D’Esposito urged the Governor to sign legislation that has been approved by the state legislature that will prevent companies from leasing animals, as well as stopping the threat of repossessing animals.
According to recent news reports, some local pet stores offered financing plans to customers for the purchase of a cat or dog, but later revealed to the customers that they were actually locked into lease agreements. In many cases, customers are being stuck with bills that far exceed their anticipated loan payments, as well as the threat of having their pet “repossessed” in the event of non-payment.
“Today, the Town of Hempstead is demanding that local pet stores ‘call off their dogs’ in the form of harassing customers who were unwittingly entered into leasing contracts for the purchase of their animals,” stated Councilman D’Esposito. “What’s more, we are urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign state legislation that would end this deceptive practice.”
Councilman D’Esposito added that in the event a person cannot make lease payments on their dog or cat – payments they did not anticipate at the time – serious animal welfare issues can arise when taking a pet away from its family.
“I urge residents to visit the Town of Hemsptead Animal Shelter to adopt a furry friend rather than buy a dog or cat from a pet store that is not being ethically responsible to the pet or the customer,” said Senior Councilwoman Goosby.
“There are times when a lease agreement can just be a bad deal. But, there are certain leased that should just never be allowed to happen because they are predatory, morally wrong and cruel,” added Assemblywoman Miller. “I believe that pet leasing calls into the latter category, and that is why I am committed to fighting to end the practice.”
“Pet leasing benefits no one but sellers,” said Assemblyman Ra, who co-sponsored the legislation. “For the protection of both consumers and our companion animals, we must end this deceptive practice.”
Councilman D’Esposito has been a steadfast supporter of the Town of Hempstead’s “Adopt, Don’t Shop” motto in urging adoptions from the town animal shelter. The town’s Summer of Love Pet Adoption Program – in which all pet adoptions were free from June 2 through September 2, 2018 – resulted in the adoption of 133 dogs and 165 cats. In addition, Councilman D’Esposito’s weekly social media campaign, “Furry Friend Friday” is a big driver of pet adoptions at the shelter. Recently, the program resulted in the adoption of Rocky, a beautiful 8-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback mix.
For more information on pet adoptions at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter, visit https://hempsteadny.gov/animal-shelter or call (516) 785-5220.
“I was extremely proud to vote in favor of Assembly bill 10082-B which would put an end to the increasing practice of pet stores offering lease agreements for the purchase of puppies. This leasing practice is deceptive in so far that it often is accompanied by high interest rates and hidden fees. Bringing a puppy into a family is a wonderful and happy event that no person should be deprived of because of the cost of purchasing a dog. But these lease agreements are not the answer. If a family can’t afford the purchase of a dog without entering into these types of agreements, I would encourage them to look to animal shelters that offer adoption at low or no cost,” added Assemblyman Curran.
“I would like to thank Assemblywoman Miller and Assemblyman Ra for sponsoring this important state legislation, as well as Assemblyman Curran for his support,” concluded Councilman D’Esposito. “This deceptive pet leasing practice needs to end for the benefit of our residents’ wallets, as well as the health and safety of the animals.”