New York state will soon make it illegal to finance the purchase of dogs, cats or other companion animals through lease-to-own schemes.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed legislation taking effect in 90 days that will ban the practice of using a pet as security for financing agreements with pet dealers.

Animal welfare groups say financing has become popular with some pet dealers as a way to make high-priced breeds seem more affordable to unwary consumers. Under a lease agreement, a pet buyer makes monthly payments, usually for several years. The pet is owned by the leasing company, and not the buyer, until a final payment is made.

Critics say it’s a cruel practice that can lead to pets being repossessed.

California and Nevada have already enacted similar bans.

Source: The Associated Press