Pursuant to yesterday’s post on the pet leasing company that reportedly killed dogs in violation of the agreement it made with the dogs’ shelter of origin, I thought a separate discussion was warranted on the whole pet leasing issue. I think there are many points to be made regarding the topic but I will limit my input to a few points with respect to shelters:
- Everyone likes the idea of saving a shelter pet and, provided the pet leasing company is sourcing its animals from shelters, it makes people feel good to give a home to a shelter animal.
- Pet leasing companies claim they provide a safe place for a pet to go if, for whatever reason, the owner is unable to keep the pet for life.
- If the owner must return the pet, he need not fear being shamed for his actions.
- A pet leasing company is a business – they provide the services, you provide the cash. And while they are hopefully at least doing minimal screening (such as checking applicants for animal cruelty convictions) they presumably accept most paying customers with few questions asked.
All of these factors may be in stark contrast to an adopter’s previous (or anticipated) experiences with area shelters or rescues. For example, the adopter may want to save a shelter pet but can not get to the shelter due to it being closed to the public, having limited hours or being in a remote location. Some adopters don’t want to go to shelters simply because many are depressing places where you are forced to look at animals knowing they will likely be killed if you don’t take them home. The leasing company probably has an easily accessible location, convenient hours and may even offer home delivery.
Life happens. Circumstances change. While an adopter’s intention may be to keep a pet for life, that’s not always possible or even advisable in some cases. Having a safe place to rely upon where the adopter knows the animal will be rehomed and not killed provides a sense of comfort if such a need were to arise. And making the difficult decision to return a pet more of a business type transaction eliminates the fear of being shamed by shelter staff.
The adopter may have previously applied for a pet with a rescue and been subjected to intense questioning and harsh judgment. They may have been made to feel very uncomfortable or even unworthy. Applying to a pet leasing company is likely a more straightforward process where one would not expect to be severely scrutinized.
So while I don’t like the idea of pet leasing, I can understand part of its appeal, at least regarding this aspect. The sad fact is that local shelters and rescues could make themselves equally as appealing (and even more so) in this regard but too many choose not to, driving away potential adopters. As I have often said, people who are turned away or just plain turned off by shelters and rescues are going to get pets from somewhere. And we may not like the somewhere. A savvy businessman saw a potential market and hung out a pet leasing shingle. Cha-ching.
Please add your thoughts on pet leasing, including some of the other considerations I did not touch upon in the post. How might the people and the animals be affected by a leasing agreement? Would you ever consider leasing a pet? If you run a shelter or rescue, would you ever consider giving a homeless animal to a pet leasing company?