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Puppies for Sale ...or for Lease
Published 5th May 2017
Reprinted in its entirety from the ASPCA blog on May 4th, 2017
You’ve heard of predatory lending, but probably never imagined that this unethical financial practice could apply to man’s best friend. You can lease a car, or rent furniture—why not other high-ticket items, like puppies?
Pet stores and websites that sell puppies—most of whom come from puppy mills—get a big payday with each dog sold, but it’s a race against time because this kind of “product” needs to be sold quickly, before getting too big or too old.
A puppy’s cuteness is the seller’s best tool. Once a customer is holding an adorable puppy, the store’s staff just needs to convince them that the puppy, despite everything they may have heard about puppy mills, is perfectly healthy and came from a small, responsible breeder whom they know personally.
Next comes the money conversation. Pet sellers want to take the sting out of the high sticker price that might make the buyer think twice. That’s when they reveal the good news: Financing is available! Suddenly, a puppy priced at thousands of dollars can be yours for only $50 a month. Who could refuse?
Pet sellers team up with private lending companies that offer the customer a low monthly payment over a fixed period of time, padding the purchase price with large fees and interest. These agreements allow a love-struck patron to walk out of the store with a puppy, but end up costing the unwitting buyer many times the animal’s original price.
But that’s not the worst of it. Many of these financing arrangements are not just high-interest payment plans. They are actually leases, meaning the new family does not legally own the dog. Technically, the leasing company owns the dog for the entire length of the lease, which might last several years. At the end of the lease term, the customer can own the dog outright … for an additional payment, of course.
This raises serious ethical questions about how dogs are viewed by society. Are they merely products, meant to meet a short-term need and then be returned? These arrangements also create more immediate problems. For instance, what happens to a cherished family pet if a customer defaults on his payments? What’s the fate of a puppy who gets repossessed by a lender? What if a major medical or other care decision needs to be made? What if, as in a case recently, a leased dog is surrendered to a shelter?
We’ve long warned consumers to be skeptical of pet stores and online sellers who may try to deceive you about the sources and health of the dogs they sell. This is just one more example of the disregard many pet stores have for the wellbeing of their animals. Deceptive, predatory financing arrangements benefit only the lending company and the pet store—not the consumer, and certainly not the puppy.
Still worried? Add fresh meat or fish to raise the taurine levels.
You don't have to go all raw but adding fresh, frozen or freeze-dried meat to your dog's diet will boost the taurine levels and help prevent heart disease. Both whole grain and grain-free foods are fine as long as the first five ingredients contain actual meat and not too many high-glycemic starches.
And don’t forget fish, which is high in taurine and also in methionine and cystine, from which dogs make taurine (unless they have a special problem and for some reason cannot do this).
Microbiome Monday: The canine microbiome is quickly becoming a focus by researchers to identify and manage chronic diseases. This short video is an overview of the basics in understanding the microbiome and its role within our canine companions.
Well into our 13th year of serving our extended Community as a local, independent business here in the District, we have been thinking about many of our customers and the life stages that they go through with friends, families and neighbors. In fact, how we engage and care for our community at large is what builds the fabric of our society, both here at home and across America.
As a small, local business we have watched our customers start new families with their companion animals, watched their children grow, and many of our customers are now moving into retirement, with the issues (even in good health) of starting to address aging in place. While we have multi-generations as customers, I think all of us go through periods where we may need help with our companions no matter the age, and so I thought we might discuss some resources that would be helpful from new parents to our seniors who are passionate about their pets and want to keep them healthy and happy through all of these life transitions.