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AKC Board Addresses Predatory Pet Leasing

The AKC Board of Directors recently discussed problematic new “pet leasing” schemes in which prospective owners make hefty monthly payments for a pet, but are not given legal ownership of the pet. In response to this concerning trend, the Board has updated the AKC Canine Legislation Position Statement on Protection for Puppy Purchasers to include the following statement:

AKC supports a ban on predatory pet leasing schemes that victimize potential owners, undermine a lifetime commitment to a pet, and do not confer the rights and responsibilities associated with legal ownership of a pet.

The Board acted after observing a rising trend in the leasing of pets in which an owner pays a monthly fee for a pet over a multiple-year term. Even after paying many times the value of the pet, the lessee may not own the animal.

The AKC strongly believes that the acquisition of a pet should be a commitment by an owner for the dog’s lifetime, rather than entry into a potentially temporary, open-ended agreement. Animal ownership provides legal rights, responsibilities, and liabilities that are valuable to owners, their pets, and society. Leasing arrangements may allow a financial company to avoid regulatory oversight and consumer protection laws that protect both dogs and dog owners. In some package deals, lessees are also limited in the choice of food and type of veterinary care available for their pets. Lessees can end up making interest payments many times the price of the dog while giving up the property rights and consumer protections usually associated with the purchase and ownership of a pet.

AKC’s updated position statement does not address or impact private agreements between individuals wherein breeding rights for a female dog may be assigned by the recorded owner to another person for a specified period of time, commonly referred to as leasing a bitch.

Read the complete revised Protection for Puppy Purchasers Canine Legislation Position Statement.