Florida senator files bill to ban the lease of pets

Reporter: Sydney Persing
Published: Updated:
Puppy eyes. (Credit: CBS Miami)
Puppy eyes. (Credit: CBS Miami)

A puppy under the tree is the ultimate Christmas gift. But be careful when purchasing that puppy because it could be repossessed.  If you lease or rent to own your pet, you could be in some heartbreak.

Cape Coral’s first animal shelter is only weeks away from its opening day. Liz McCauley, the executive director of Cape Coral Animal Shelter, said it is her mission to defend the vulnerable.

“These animals don’t have their own voice,” McCauley said. “Those of us that work in this we try to be their voice.”

McCauley told WINK News that is why she supports the State Sen. Annette Taddeo’s new legislation. SB 186 bans the practice of leasing pets. On the phone, Taddeo said she was shocked when she first heard about the practice.

“They sign a document,” Taddeo said, “and lo and behold it was a lease.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said this is a nationwide problem. The non-profit hopes Florida becomes the eighth state to ban the practice.

Recently, Taddeo said a man called her to say he fell in love with a dog but could not afford him. The person did not read the fine print and before he knew it, he was stuck paying over the original retail price. He still did not own the dog.

“He ended up spending three times as much as the value of the dog,” Taddeo said. “I think it was over 3,000 dollars.”

While Taddeo does not have figures, such as how prevalent the repossession of pets happens, McCauley said even one time is too many.

“Someone could come to take the dog away at any time,” McCauley said. “Plus, something happens to the dog, it runs away, it passes away, you’re still responsible for paying for that dog.”

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