Deputy Speaker Lima reintroduces legislation to ban the renting or leasing of ‘forever pets'
STATE HOUSE – Deputy Speaker Charlene M. Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston, Providence) has reintroduced legislation (2019-H 5246) to prohibit any business or individual in Rhode Island from renting, leasing, or in any other way offering a live animal for sale as a “forever pet” other than by a full outright sale. This legislation was passed unanimously by the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2018.
A “forever pet” is defined as any dog or cat purchased from a business or individual which purchase does not vest permanent ownership in the buyer.
“The practice of renting or leasing a ‘forever pet’ is nothing more than an unscrupulous business practice designed to fleece the buyer out of their money by charging exorbitant interest rates much like the practices of payday lenders. They prey on the emotions of the less affluent by inducing them to enter into high interest loans, the so-called lease/rent pet agreements, in order to afford a high priced ‘forever pet’,” said Deputy Speaker Lima.
Violations of the act would be punishable by a fine of $500 for the first violation and up to $1,000 for each subsequent violation, and/or revocation of the businesses retail sales license.
The act would not prohibit the temporary leasing or rental of purebred dogs for breeding, animals used in shows and exhibitions, and working animals such as guide dogs.
“Becoming a pet owner involves more than just the initial purchase of a pet. It is a commitment to many additional costs beyond the original cost of the ‘forever pet’. If someone is induced into spending more on an expensive pet than they can afford by these ridiculous payday lender type pet rental or leasing agreements how can they hope to afford the medical, food and other costs associated with responsible pet ownership. Ultimately, if they are unable to keep up the payments, the ‘forever pet’ is repossessed much like a used car. This is cruel to the animal and the pet owner and it must be stopped now,” added Deputy Speaker Lima.
For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903