Reps. Madden, McNeill propose animal rights legislation

State Reps. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, and Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, held a news conference today to promote their pet safety legislation to stop pet stores from luring customers into leasing pets for an exorbitant amount of money.

Madden said the proposed bill would protect both Pennsylvania consumers and animals.

“Our bill seeks to end deceptive practices and cruelty to pets in Pennsylvania,” Madden said. “We are working with various animal rights advocates from across the state to move this legislation forward.”

Madden said pet leasing is a relatively new practice in which pet stores and breeders offer a low-cost way to own a pet. The customer signs some forms, but the terms of the agreement are not often made clear, so while the customer thinks they took out a loan to get their pet, in reality they have entered into a lease agreement, requiring them to pay — unfairly — far beyond the pet’s retail price.

“As an avid dog lover I find it disturbing that people face losing their beloved pets due to complicated lease agreements, which also may end up costing them thousands of dollars more than it should,” McNeill said

McNeill said there are better options for obtaining a pet, such as shelters where you pay a one-time adoption fee.

“Pet leasing has already been banned in California and Nevada and legislation is currently awaiting consideration in New York, and I think those states lead by example of how we should handle the situation here in Pennsylvania,” she said.

Also speaking at the news conference were Kristen Tullo, Humane Society of the United States state director; and Sandy Fellin, president of Animal Welfare Society of Monroe.

McNeill said they plan to introduce the legislation soon and get it assigned to a committee for review.