(WGGB / WSHM) – The Massachusetts Attorney General first contacted Western Mass News about new developments to stop the rental of predatory dogs in Bay State.
The companies that offer these dog rental contracts generally do not advertise to temporarily loan a pet to someone. In fact, the attorney general said they often target people who can’t afford the one-time cost of a pet.
However, the finance charges on these leases can be so high, Maura Healey said people often fall behind on payments after getting attached to the animal and that’s when, she said, the companies are threatening to repossess the animal.
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB / WSHM) – Pet funding is a growing method of allowing pet owners to pay for their new dog in some states.
This is exactly what happened to a local woman we spoke to in 2019 and Healey said it was illegal.
“You don’t hire an animal. And after? Rent a baby? Tammy Harrington said in 2019.
Almost two years ago, Western Mass News first brought Harrington’s story to you. She had signed a rental agreement to pay down payments for the ownership of two Shitzu puppies, but quickly the expensive payments overwhelmed her and she said she envisioned a final sum of more than double the original price.
Harrington turned the dogs over to a shelter in hopes of finding them later, but she still faced daily phone calls from the rental company.
“You are responsible for all the money, whether or not you returned the puppies,” Harrington explained in 2019.
At the time, there was a question of the legality of the dog rental practice in Massachusetts. Now, the Massachusetts Attorney General has spoken to Western Mass News and has said, without any ambiguity, that it is illegal to rent a dog in Massachusetts and that no company is allowed to offer these deals to people. who hope to buy a pet, but cannot pay for the full amount. price right away.
“They often involve, as leases sometimes do, very high financial charges ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The dog, just like a rented car, could be taken back, ”Healey explained.
Healey said the problem recently came to a head when she settled a lawsuit with two Nevada-based pet rental companies different from the one used by Harrington. This agreement obliges these companies to repay all payments made after January 1, 2021 and cancels overdue balances totaling more than $ 126,000.
“Ownership should be transferred permanently to the dog owners, to the people who were on the leases,” Healey added.
Despite the book laws banning the rental of pets, companies have always offered them to buyers in Massachusetts. We asked Healey if we needed to add more definitive language to permanently close the doors to these arrangements.
“It’s really something to watch. I think these companies figured out that they were breaking the law and were just trying to find a way around that and keep doing these leases until they got caught and I’m glad we caught them ” , Healey noted.
We reached out to Harrington who was not available for an interview, but learned that the pet rental company that offered Harrington his lease is no longer making new leases anywhere, according to a post. on their website.
However, to businesses that are always trying to attract new customers, Healey has this to say.
“It is an abusive and illegal practice here in Massachusetts. It’s not allowed and as long as someone gets involved in that, we’ll come after you, ”Healey said.
The settlement with these companies and the state also ordered them not to enter into new deals in Massachusetts and the companies were fined $ 50,000.
Healey is asking anyone who has purchased a dog using one of these rental agreements to contact his office for assistance at (888) 830-6277 or to file a complaint online.