Stopping Unfair and Deceptive Pet Leasing Practices (Washington)
Concerning contracts for dogs and cats (HB 1476)
Effectively ends pet leasing schemes in the state by making pet leasing contracts void and unenforceable.
Signed into law by Washington Governor Jay Inslee
In the typical pet leasing situation, pet store personnel encourage customers who want to buy a puppy but are unable to pay the high sticker price, to use “financing” — unbeknownst to many customers, often a lease — to take the animal home. Consumers may not be aware that the papers they’ve signed are leases that empower a third party to seize their dog if they fail to make a monthly payment, and which make the lender the legal owner of the dog. Under these leases the total amount of money the customer pays is often significantly higher than the listed sticker price.
Signed into law in 2019 by Governor Inslee, HB 1476 effectively ended pet leasing schemes in Washington state by making pet leasing contracts void and unenforceable. The Animal Legal Defense Fund submitted comments to state legislators in support of the bill, pointing out that companion animals are not inanimate items of property that can be leased like a car or apartment, but members of the family who receive special protections under the law.