Consumer Protection Law will Prohibit Financing of Puppies and Kittens in California
Predatory financing law bans loans that often trap borrowers with high interest rates
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 2380, which bans online pet retailers from offering consumer loans for dogs and cats, into law. This measure is another step forward in limiting the number of animals bred in puppy and kitten mills being purchased in California.
In 2019, a retail sales ban on dogs and cats went into effect but did not extend to online sales. According to data from shipping and courier companies that facilitate the transport of animals, California is the #1 importer of dogs and cats in the nation. Online sales allow puppy mills to continue to reach California customers through the cloak of sanitized imagery and obfuscated origination information. Most of the large online brokers that transport puppies to in-state customers offer financing.
Financing can be a key part of animal sale proposals. Average consumers may not be able to afford to spend thousands of dollars for a puppy, but predatory lenders can easily turn casual browsers to purchasers by including a link to instantaneously apply for seemingly low or no interest short-term financing — even for those with bad or no credit. Full disclosure of interest rates, fees, payoff amount, and general loan terms are not available until after a loan application is made and — critically — after an emotional connection to a photo and the desire to purchase a particular animal is present.
“Predatory puppy financing can increase the rates of impulse puppy purchases — leading to financial hardship for borrowers, and young puppies with families that don’t have the resources to properly care for them,” said Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The same lenders that dominated the retail pet sales market now have a strong presence online preying on Californians. This new law will protect both consumers and animals.”
“Purchasing a pet is an exciting time for many, yet these vulnerabilities are often taken advantage of by exploitative online lenders offering enticing but predatory loans,” said Assemblymember Brian Maienschein. “AB 2380 will protect California consumers by prohibiting online pet retailers from offering consumer loans for the purchase of a dog or a cat.”
The bill passed the legislature in August 2022 after being introduced in California in February 2022 by Assemblyman Brian Maienschein (D-San Diego) in the Assembly. Sponsored by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the law prohibits retailers from facilitating consumer loans to individuals for the purchase of cats and dogs.
In 2021, Illinois enacted a law, known as Holmes’ law, prohibiting the financing of companion animals. Pennsylvania is considering similar legislation.
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