New York’s state attorney general has filed a fraud suit against The Pet Zone alleging its leasing option is misleading, according to news reports. The chains of New York pet stores has allegedly illegally sold hundreds of puppies and multiple allegations of fraud have been brought against them. The New York state Attorney General sued to shut down the chain, which operates retail locations in Queensbury, Poughkeepsie, Watertown, and Albany. While the lawsuit is pending, the court temporarily banned The Pet Zone from obtaining any new dogs for sale; it also placed additional regulation and oversight on the puppies that are currently in the stores.

 

Pet Leasing Option

New York’s fraud suit, filed in May of this year, claims that consumers were not adequately notified that the financing agreements signed with The Pet Zone were actually lease agreements. The Pet Zone offered the dog rentals through a company named Wags Lending whose parent  corporation filed for bankruptcy in 2017. It is uncertain whether or not Wags Lending is still operating, but other news reports have noted that the company was offering rental contracts in other parts of the country, including Houston, Texas.

 

Sick Puppies for Sale

 According to the lawsuit filed, employees of the pet store sold dogs to customers without having them first checked by a veterinarian. The stores refused to reimburse the customers who bought the sick dogs for all the medical expenses they incurred relating to the animals’ poor health. The lawsuit further claims that store employees medicated puppies when they began to get sick instead of taking the animals to a veterinarian for treatment. It also alleges that store employees hid dogs that had been drugged by falsifying the store’s records. The store likewise faked the paperwork of dozens, possibly hundreds, of puppies that were never seen and certified as fit for sale by a vet. New York law requires that new owners who find out they bought sick animals be reimbursed within 10 days.

 

New York Bans Animal Rentals

 New York’s state legislature passed a bill earlier this year that bans pet leasing. The bill still needs to be signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. New York is not the only state in the nation to ban pet rentals. Both California and Nevada prohibit animal rentals. In Connecticut, at least one lawmaker is supporting passing a ban on pet rentals in the state. New York’s pet rental ban was introduced after one Republican lawmaker heard about rental abuse cases on the radio. New York would be the third state to ban animal rentals if the Governor Cuomo signs the bill.

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