Pet Financing Agreements: Are They Legal?

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Both Mass Lawyer’s Weekly and Western Mass News recently covered the story of a Springfield woman who received money from My Pet Funding, LLC in order to purchase two Shih Tzu puppies–Layla and Buttercup.

The woman who received the funding is now questioning the legality of the agreement between herself and the financing company.

According to the My Pet Funding, LLC website the company

offers a retailer to customer closed end consumer lease platform designed to increase retailer sales by offering customers the ability to finance goods and services on the spot, in the store and without delay.

The company will finance the purchase of a pet.  The borrower then takes custody of the animal but does not become its legal owner until the funds are repaid with interest.

Massachusetts’ law expressly prohibits the leasing of dogs.  According to M.G.L. c. 272, section 80I,

No person shall engage in the business of leasing or renting a dog. A dog held for such leasing or renting may be seized or impounded by an organization or agent thereof that is authorized to seize or impound animals under the General Laws.

The statute defines renting and leasing as “the practice of renting a dog for a fee or a cost which will knowingly result in a temporary possession of the animal by another party.”

The borrower in this case along with Dakin Humane Society in Springfield now question whether section 80I could be interpreted to nullify the financing agreement with My Pet Fudning, LLC.

As of yet no Massachusetts court has ruled on the issue.

If you have questions about the law or need legal representation please contact me at justin@jrmccarthy.com

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