STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – You can lease cars, furniture, apartments, even pets. Local lawmakers want to ban a practice known as ‘pet leasing’, which they call dirty and deceptive.

Kristen Hamilton’s friends brought home a German Shepard puppy from a local pet shop. What should have been happy times, were stressful instead.

“It was just devastating,” she recalls.

They leased the puppy but could barely afford to keep it, because they were paying hundreds more than expected.

“I mean, you think you make a transaction and the animal is yours and that’s it. But, that was not the case,” Hamilton adds.

State Representative Maureen Madden says pet leasing usually targets people who can’t afford to outwardly buy a pet. Yet, they end up paying more in interest and hidden fees.

“You’re really renting the dog because at the end of the lease they hit you with a balloon payment,” says State Rep. Maureen Madden, [D] Monroe County.

If families fall behind on a payment, their pet could be repossessed just like a car.

“It’s heartbreaking when you lose a pet. They become your family,” Madden adds.

Volunteers at AWSOM animal shelter in Stroudsburg want to remind you to adopt, not shop. That way you protect your pocket, while helping an animal in need.

“You can’t get a better pet than an adopted pet. They know that you’ve come and saved them,” smiles Sandra Fellin, President, AWSOM.

Madden is introducing legislation that would make pet leasing illegal in Pennsylvania. She says it would also limit puppy mills from doing business. “We want to stop it before it becomes an issue like it has in other states,” she explains.

Similar legislation is awaiting a signature from New York’s governor. Pet leasing is already illegal in California and Nevada.