California Company That Illegally Leased Dogs Settles For $900k

Here at, our mantra is definitely “adopt, don’t shop.” Beyond the ethical concerns, purchasing dogs from breeders or pet stores comes with a host of other dangers.

The most common problem associated with purchasing dogs is seller scams. A recent lawsuit brings to light a unique kind of dog buying scam: leasing.

The Case Of Monterey Financial Services

On Wednesday, April 13, 2022, Monterey Financial Services LLC entered into an agreement with Suffolk Superior Court. The California-based finance company agreed to pay $900,000 for illegally “leasing” dogs in Massachusetts.

By purchasing dogs and collecting on outstanding balances on leases for them, Monterey Financial Services LLC violated MA consumer protection laws. Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement:

“Families in Massachusetts looking to get a dog should not be trapped in leasing agreements that are harmful, expensive, and illegal.”

Leasing a dog, in this case, works similarly to leasing a car. Consumers make monthly payments and pay an additional fee at the end of the lease to keep the dog.

As a result of the settlement, MFS LLC must cancel about $700,000 in outstanding consumer debt on 211 dog leases. They’ll also be transferring official ownership of those dogs to the Massachusetts residents.

The company will pay $175,000 in restitution to consumers and a $50,000 fine to the state of Massachusetts. Still, MFS LLC said it stands by its record of “high levels of performance for our clients, low consumer complaint ratios, and a deep-rooted dedication to customer service.”

In a statement, Monterey Financial Services LLC said:

While we disagree with the state’s findings, we have elected to come to an agreement to move away from this issue to best serve our clients. Monterey has and continues to strive to employ business practices in full accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.”

Adopt Don’t Shop!

The Monterey Financial Services LLC case is a prime example of financial exploitation of people who just want a dog to love. Adopting a dog doesn’t need to cost thousands of dollars, though.

Every day, countless dogs sit in shelters awaiting rescue. Some areas have higher intake rates, so if you live somewhere with less available animals, consider taking a little adoption trip. Many shelters host special waived adoption fee events, and sometimes adoption fees are sponsored.

This article details how to find a rescue dog of every breed so there’s no need to contact breeders. Beware of online ads, though: learn more about puppy scams here.

H/T: AP News