Long Island Family Thought They Had Bought a Pet Dog, Turns Out They Were Just Leasing It

A Long Island family is fighting for the right to keep their pet Golden Retriever Max, after a lending company threatened to have it repossessed unless they make a considerable final payment.

Danielle Cittadino and her family bought Max from the Shake-A-Paw pet store, in Lynbrook , New York, a couple of years ago. The adorable puppy cost $1,200, but the Cittadinos couldn’t afford to pay all of it upfront, so they were offered a financing option from a company called Wags Lending. They checked Danielle’s credit and after she was approved, the Baldwin woman had to fill out a bunch of paperwork, which she admits she didn’t go through thoroughly. She assumed that she was getting a loan, but in reality the contract specified that she wasn’t actually buying Max, but renting him until she paid all the required installments. Now the company is threatening to reposes the dog.

Photo: ABC News video screengrab

“I had no idea it was a lease,” Danielle recently told News 12 Long Island. “You know, I hear of financing, it’s a loan.”

Danielle says she made payments of $145.19 a month, on time, for 23 months, but then she learned that she had to make a final lease payment of $338.07 to finally become Max owner. She claims she didn’t know about it, and refused to make that final payment, calling it a scam. However, Wags Lending reportedly called the Cittadinos to tell them that unless they settle their debt, they will reposes their dog.


The Cittadinos absolutely adore Max and consider him part of their family, but they refuse to be bullied by the lending company.

“It’s wrong, you can’t rip away a dog from a family, that’s been a part of their family for two plus years,” Danielle said. “I’m sorry but you’re not getting this dog back, nor are you getting this last payment. It’s a scam!”


News 12 Long Island reports that they’ve been getting similar complaint from other pet owners regarding Wags Lending, but according to consumer rights attorney Anthony Ballato, it’s all a matter of buyer beware.

So the next time you want to get a dog, be sure to read the contract carefully and make sure you are actually buying it, not leasing it.

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