Animal Aid

'Dogs for rent' is animal abuse

Posted 1 August 2007

A company in California is offering people who are unable to make a full time commitment to a pet, the chance to rent a dog. For the equivalent of £49 a year, FlexPetz customers get to spend time with one of the company's Afghan hounds, Labrador retrievers or Boston terriers. FlexPetz founder Marlena Cervantes is hoping to expand her business to London by the end of the year.

Dogs are sentient creatures who form bonds with their guardians. They need stability and to make an emotional attachment. If they are constantly rented out to more than one person, these basic needs will remain unfulfilled and they will become disturbed and are likely to develop behavioural problems.

One of the declared objectives of FlexPetz is to prevent animals from being returned to rescue shelters after their owners get bored or realise that they are too much hard work. However, isn’t that just what happens at FlexPetz? A dog spends a weekend with a family who he starts to like and then he’s taken away to wait for another person who wants to spend some time with him.

Dogs, and other animals, should not be treated as if they are unfeeling objects that can be moved from home to home providing entertainment like a rental dvd. The whole ‘dogs for rent’ concept amounts to animal abuse.

If FlexPetz customers feel the urge to spend time with a dog then they could volunteer at one of the many animal shelters where there are plenty of dogs who would be glad of the attention. There are opportunities to walk abandoned or unwanted animals until a permanent owner, with the space and time to make that full-time commitment, comes along.

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