In Washington, certain retailers do and it is currently legal.
Here is how it works. Retailers can lease pets like dogs and cats. Often these leases allow for the repossession of the pet if the family caring for it falls behind on payments. This means that one day a puppy can be napping on the end of the couch with its people and the next day it is back with the retailer. How that pet is cared for or where it physically is sheltered isn’t clear.
Of course, this ordeal causes a lot of emotional harm to pets, caretakers, and children who have grown attached to their furry friend. This isn’t even including the potential discomfort facing the pet if retailers don’t care for it effectively.
Leasing pets also causes confusion at the veterinarian’s office. Vets struggle to know the best way to proceed when there isn’t a clear owner. Who can make decisions on care? The leasing agent or the family caring for the pet. Who should the bill go to?
Leasing pets creates uncertainty and hurts pets and their families. That is why I introduced House Bill 1476. This measure would prevent retailers from repossessing feline and canine companions. These businesses can still offer financing options, but a pet will stay with the family it goes home with. Last week, HB 1476 passed the Consumer Protection & Business and will now await consideration by the full House of representatives.
If you have questions about this or any other bill, feel free to contact me at Derek.Stanford@leg.wa.gov or at 360-786-7928.
Rep. Derek Stanford