Progress on “Pet Rentals” Ban in Massachusetts

A-DOG obtained permission to reprint this article in order to inform our members about the movement in our state to ban the pet “rental” practices of companies such as FlexPetz. FlexPetz had planned to open for business in the Boston area.

(A press release from the Humane Society of the United States, reprinted with permission.)

The HSUS Urges Massachusetts Senate to Pass Ban on ‘Renting’ Pets

July 28, 2008

Statewide Ban Will Complement Recent Ordinance Unanimously Approved By Boston City Council

The Humane Society of the United States commends the Massachusetts House of Representatives for approving a bill to ban “pet rentals.” The HSUS says that while businesses that rent dogs may be well intentioned, they’re unlikely to benefit the overall welfare of pets, and may actually do harm to the individual dogs they “rent.”

“A dog is a lifetime friend and companion — not a two-hour piece of rental equipment,” said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The Humane Society of the United States. “There are better and more fulfilling options for these animals and people who need a doggie fix.”

Now, with the session’s close on Thursday, The HSUS urges the Senate Ethics and Rules committee to pass it swiftly and send it on for a Senate floor vote.

A similar ordinance was recently passed by the Boston City Council effectively prohibiting the renting of pets in the city. The ordinance was passed unanimously by City Councilors. The move was prompted by news that Flex Petz, the most well-known pet rental company, was planning to expand to Boston.

The pet rental ban bill, H. 5006, was introduced by Rep. Paul K. Frost, (R-Auburn). “I just fear a business like this fosters a concept of disposable pets,” said Rep. Frost.

Pets form attachments to their families. Dogs instinctively learn to protect their packs. Frequent and abrupt changes in location, routine, discipline and attention are confusing and are likely to lead to stress-induced behavior problems. Pets are not like cars or furniture. Moving them from person to person, home to home, can induce problems such as anxiety and depression.

The HSUS urges pet lovers unable to make a life-long commitment to a pet to seek better and equally fulfilling options. Animal shelters and rescue organizations across the country seek caring volunteers to spend quality time with the animals available for adoption for play-time, walking and other forms of socialization. People can also provide foster care, in their home, for a pet who needs extra attention while he or she awaits a permanent adoptive family.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at

1 thought on “Progress on “Pet Rentals” Ban in Massachusetts

  1. Note that the Mass. Senate has already approved House Bill #5006 and now all that remains is for Gov. Deval Patrick to sign it into law (which he is expected to do.) The HSUS release neglects to mention that the successful passing of this bill–at the end of a very, very busy legislative cycle–makes Massachusetts the first state in nation to have a ban on pet rental businesses and continues the Commonwealth’s historical commitment to leadership on humane issues.
    Anyone who would like occasional contact with a dog (or cat) but is unable (for reasons of lifestyle or rental housing requirements, etc.) to commit to permanent pet ownership is welcome to contact me at work ( for information about either volunteering as a dog walker or cat cuddler at the Animal Rescue League of Boston shelter, or for information about our foster care program, in which homes are needed for short-term care of special kittens, puppies, and cats and dogs.

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