Renting of Dogs

Renting of dogs often falls into two vastly different categories: dogs which are rented on a short-term basis and those in a “lease to own” type contract. The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) opposes both of these practices.

Short term renting of dogs

Short term dog rentals are advertised for individuals to be able to borrow for a fee a puppy for a short period of time, a few hours or an afternoon. These services claim they take dogs out of the shelter, give those dogs better quality of life than sitting in a kennel, and give individuals who cannot own a dog the opportunity to enjoy some canine company. However, the short term renting of dogs ignores that this practice is not in the best interest of the animals; dogs are social creatures that bond with humans. There is a very real risk that a dog being perpetually rented to different individuals or groups will gain emotional and behavioral problems that make them less fit for adoption in the future. Fortunately, Massachusetts has recognized the harm that short term ownership creates for dogs and prohibits this practice.[1] Short term interactions with dogs should be conducted in the animal’s best interest, and not solely for the benefit of the person interacting with the animal. ARL believes that individuals who may be unable to own a dog due to circumstances such as a family member’s allergies, a landlord’s prohibition on pets, or a busy schedule can interact with pets through: short term fostering, volunteering at a local shelter, or spending time with friends or family member’s pets.

Therefore, the Animal Rescue League will:

  • Oppose any efforts to allow for rentals of companion animals
  • Provide education to the public about why rentals of companion animals is harmful to the animal
  • Provide information about alternatives to pet ownership

Lease to own contracts for animals

Lease to own rental contracts are often encountered by individuals who are looking to bring an animal into their family by shopping at a pet store. An individual may think they are financing the animal, making monthly payments at the time of sale. Instead, the individual is signing a contract to lease the animal for a period of time, with interest every month, and potentially the option to purchase the animal at the end of the contract if all payments and interest are made on time and in full. These contracts can end up doubling the cost of the pet, or because the person does not own the animal, it can be repossessed by the leasing company, the legal owner. They also require payment even in cases where the animal may become sick, run away, or pass away.

ARL believes that these practices are deceptive and put animals at risk of being separated from an owner with whom they have bonded. In Massachusetts, it is illegal to rent or lease a dog.[2]

Therefore, the Animal Rescue League will:

  • Oppose any efforts to allow for lease to own of animals
  • Advocate for families looking for a pet to considering adoption from a shelter or another source of homeless animals


[1] MGL Ch. 272 § 80I Leasing or renting dogs; penalties
[2] MGL Ch. 272 § 80I Leasing or renting dogs; penalties