The good news is, the scoundrels cannot lease dogs in Massachusetts anymore. The bad news is, wait, what!? You can lease dogs?!
I read a news article this week about the State of Massachusetts settling with a lending company from
California that was illegally leasing dogs in Massachusetts. The settlement included the firm canceling almost $700,000 debt involving 211 outstanding leases, transferring full ownership of the dogs to the Massachusetts residents, paying $175,000 in restitution to consumers for lease payments the firm collected but legally couldn’t, and paying a $50,000 fine to the state. That’s an average lease of over $3,000 per dog. I live in this country and lead a fairly normal life in it, but I don’t understand it.
This also means that 211 people in Massachusetts were leasing dogs. Now, if you are currently leasing a dog, I apologize but, I just have to say that this seems crazy to me. I don’t belong to PETA, I am not an over-the-top dog owner, but first off, you lease cars or houses, inanimate objects not dogs. Dogs aren’t people – I know that – but they are alive. How do you terminate a lease with a dog? Last Sunday I preached on Genesis 1 and marveled at the creation. How do you lease a fellow creature?
The second moral issue has to do with the lending practices of these financial institutions. It’s one thing to use credit to make a purchase (and you do purchase pets) but a lease implies ownership being retained by the lender. They can repossess Fido. They will keep billing you if the dog dies. They will charge you for depreciation at the end of the lease (what could go wrong there!?). Predatory lending happens when people can’t afford their purchases. Shame on those institutions who practice
But in this case, it’s the consumer who is driving these schemes. You shouldn’t purchase a pet if you can’t properly care for them, and if you have to lease it to get that full-bred, high-end dog—don’t do it!
I think this is one of the largest temptations that we have living in this land of plenty. We end up wanting more and more – we covet the cars or houses, or DOGS, that other people have, and we end up going to crazy lengths to get them. Getting things that we can’t afford including, apparently, leasing dogs.
In Hebrews 13, Paul says: Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” If we truly believe that God is with us, and will never leave us, then we can be content with what we have. That contentment is a direct reflection on my trust in God. If I can’t be content with my Puerto Rican street dog rescue, and need some purebred dog to satisfy my longings, I am not only dissing my dog Hunter, but I am telling God I don’t trust Him.
So it’s not just about dogs – crazy as this story may be. It has to do with what I do with my money, and what that says about my relationship with the Lord.
Petting my dog,
Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. Proverbs 16:8