This law prohibits the practice of renting pets in Massachusetts. News of a company, FlexPetz, coming to Boston prompted concerns among people who care about animals. The MSPCA worked with The Coalition to Prohibit the Renting of Pets to pass the bill. The City of Boston also passed a similar ordinance.
The MSPCA recognizes that dogs play an important role in our lives and that they require a significant commitment to ensure their well-being. The MSPCA has concerns with any business that allows people to “rent” an animal. The practice of renting animals is not consistent with society’s views toward our “best friends.”
Dogs benefit from consistency and routine. Frequent transfer of companion dogs from home to home, caregiver to caregiver, increases the likelihood of stress-induced aggression, even among otherwise well-mannered animals. Without requiring a commitment, renters are strangers to the dog and clearly cannot have the background to understand the individual dog’s needs, habits, or behaviors. This could lead to canine aggression and behavior problems, leaving both renters and the public at risk.
Renting pets has the potential to burden public resources, from law enforcement to animal shelters, by fostering the idea that it is acceptable to use and return pets on a whim; this disposable pet mindset is likely to lead to increased animal abandonment and abuse. Renting pets can discourage the responsible pet ownership that makes our cities and towns a better place to live for all, including those who don’t have an affinity for animals.
Bottom line: those who have no commitment to an animal are less inclined to care for them properly or keep them from injuring people and damaging property.
Rent-a-Pet companies often claim they are helping to save lives by adopting animals from shelters. However, dogs available for rent must be appealing to the general public and customers in both behavior and physical appearance. Therefore, the animals rent-a-pet companies would take from an adoption center would be the most adoptable pets, depriving these animals of a permanent home with a family who wants to make a lifetime commitment to an animal in need.
The MSPCA offers wonderful opportunities for people who want to spend time with an animal but can not make a lifetime commitment to the care of an animal. Foster caretakers and volunteers at the MSPCA’s adoption centers and other adoption centers, animal shelters, and humane societies enjoy spending time with animals while at the same time helping them prepare for lifelong and loving homes.