New York is making it illegal to rent or lease a pet in the state, ending a practice that is harmful for both pet and owner.

Governor Cuomo signed new legislation that makes the practice of leasing or renting a "companion animal" illegal. Here's how the practice works: a pet store will "sell" a cat or dog to a family, but then the family realizes that the payment was actually a deposit - and they must continue to make payments, often with a high interest rate or balloon payment due - or the pet will be "repossessed."

Tearing a pet away from its new family is traumatizing for the pet and for the family.

"As I've learned firsthand, pets quickly become members of your family, and it is unconscionable that there are unscrupulous sellers who would use pets as collateral," Governor Cuomo said in a release. "I'm proud to sign this legislation that will end this predatory practice once and for all."

A representative from the ASPCA, Bill Ketzer, says, "The ASPCA has long warned consumers to be skeptical of pet stores and online sellers who may deceive them about the sources and health of the dogs they sell, and pet leasing is yet another example of the disregard retail pet sellers can have for the well-being of their animals.

While 'rent-a-pet' practices are now illegal in the state, it's still always best to adopt - and not buy - your new pet. There are thousands of pets in Central New York shelters right now - just waiting for their forever home.

Adopt, don't shop.