Animal advocates call for national pet leasing website to be taken down

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — A website is making national attention that allows you to lease a dog. 

The website, wagslending.com, is getting a lot of heat.

It’s been around for a few years and claims to help people take a dog home immediately, and then pay the dog off through a lease.

Dog owners know that a pet is an investment, but the website wagslending.com said it can help with that.

“My instincts tell me it’s wrong, like we’re treating the dog like a car or object or something,” said Ashley Bowers, a dog owner. 

Instead of paying thousands of dollars up front for a pet, you pay in a 12 or 24 month lease, and if things don’t work out, you can return the dog.

Experts have said there are problems to this program.

“Just like someone who goes to a car dealership, people get distracted thinking about the monthly payment and might no longer negotiate that sticker price. Once they start adding in the fees, all of a sudden dogs that you could’ve bought for $1500 s is 5000,” said Jennie Lintz with the ASPCA. 

In Connecticut, a woman thought she was making a loan at a pet store, but found herself in this exact issue.

“I was like ok what bills am I not going to pay not so I can make sure no one’s going to come to my door and take my dogs away,” said Courtney Peterman who unknowingly leased dogs. 

In Alabama, a local advocacy groups said this reads “scam” all over it.

“This is just another way for puppy mills to get their product sold and that’s what they look at these pets. Not family members, just products,” said Veronica Kennedy with Animal Advocates of Alabama.

Pet owners say if you can’t afford an animal, then maybe you shouldn’t have one. 

“On the surface it’s great to be able to have an option to purchase one but if you can’t afford to keep it healthy, then what are you going to do?” said Kennedy. 

“I guess that gives them an option but still there are other dogs that needs home so I don’t know why you would turn to a service like that.,” said Lyndsey Mitchell, who works at a local dog store in Homewood. 

Pet-leasing is not considered illegal but pet shops can be held responsible if they’re not upfront to the customer that this is a lease.

A few states have banned pet leasing, but it doesn’t appear Alabama is on that list.
 

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