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New York Lawmakers Looking To Ban 'Pet Leasing'

LONG ISLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Pet leasing, or the practice of paying off a dog or cat as you would a car, could soon be illegal in the state of New York.

Danielle Cittadino of Baldwin considers her golden retriever, Max, part of the family. Cittadino agreed to spread out the payments for Max with her pet store however, the arrangement could possibly cause problems with her financing company.

The dog owner recently found out that the company considers Max a product; meaning he could have to be returned if she defaults on the payments.

"I looked at the papers again and said 'Whoa, wait, what is going on? This is a lease?'" Cittadino recalled.

Her contract states "you do not own the product you are leasing" unless the Baldwin resident pays a $340 buyout option. Her two years of monthly payments reportedly amount to nothing but rental fees.

"Rental payments? Are you serious right now?" Cittadino added.

Local lawmakers say her story is not unique and they're pushing to ban pet leasing in the state. A measure passed in the legislature in June and awaits Gov. Cuomo's signature.

"You should not be able to repossess an animal and people are unknowingly being duped," State Assembly member Missy Miller said.

"Repossessed, just like a car or sometimes a home... We've heard horror stories that these animals are actually euthanized," Hempstead town councilman Anthony D'Esposito added.

Leasing company Monterey Financial Services told CBS2 that they have never repossessed a pet or ever intended to. "The animal remains with the consumer even in the case of default," the company added.

Gov. Cuomo has not yet said if he intends to sign the bill that was passed over 80 days ago. California and Nevada have already banned pet leasing.

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