Concerns raised about pet leasing company Hannah the Pet Society - KPTV - FOX 12

FOX 12 Investigators look into pet leasing company Hannah the Pet Society

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A Portland-based company claims to bring people and pets together in a whole new way.

Hannah the Pet Society said it matches people with their ideal pet and then provides all pet care for a monthly fee, but some are questioning the way the business interacts with clients and how it gets animals.

After matching pets with people, the company then provides things like grooming, training, veterinary care - even food.

"What we're trying to do is make it so that people who wouldn't otherwise have a pet, or are considering getting rid of their pet because they can't afford it or have other issues with it, can have it as part of their family," said founder Scott Campbell.

The key difference from other adoptions is that Hannah retains ownership of the animal. Some say that you are essentially renting a pet.

"It wasn't really clear initially that you were renting the dog," said Diane Tate, who put down a deposit for a dog in February. "(It wasn't clear) that all the decisions would be made by Hannah the Pet Society. You would be consulted but other than that, everything is their decision."

Diane Tate said it was eventually spelled out in the contract, but as she read it, she had more concerns.

"Lots of things in that contract are very unclear, ambiguous and you have no idea what you're really getting yourself into," Tate said.

And when she was having second thoughts, she said the company pushed too hard.

"Immediately, I started getting phone calls, it was almost harassment," Tate said.

Tate said Hannah did let her out of the contract and refunded her deposit, but she still filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

"They have to change their approach," said Tate. "They have to honest about what they are and how they do it."

Hannah said its process is a new way to help homeless pets, yet when the PAWS animal shelter in West Linn offered the company a kitten, Hannah refused to take it, according to the shelter.

"They advertise that they work with shelters and get their animals from shelters and rescues when in fact they only take again the highly adoptable, easily sold, pretty animals," a shelter volunteer said.

PAWS worries Hannah is putting profit before pets. Campbell said the company is a startup and has yet to turn a profit.

"Our plan is really to help find homes for pets," said Campbell. "If that all works, some day there will be some profit."

Campbell said he is aware of the criticism, including a website and Facebook page that question its practices.

"I try to worry about what we're doing and make sure we do a good job and not really worry too much about what people say about me," Campbell said.

But the Oregon Humane Society is among those concerned. A statement reads in part:

"We support out of the box thinking when it comes to saving lives and this is certainly the case with a company that occasionally sources animals from shelters and leases them to caretakers ... We are concerned about the source of animals when not coming from shelters. Hannah society has not shared with us any criteria that would preclude the lease of puppy mill source dogs ... for the people who read the fine print and are looking for a less committed relationship this might be the right choice. Whether it's the right choice for pets remains to be seen."

Hannah's founder said they do buy non-shelter dogs, but didn't get specific about the sources.

The company provided several testimonials of satisfied customers and is also endorsed by several shelters.

The Better Business Bureau said 10 complaints have been filed in the last year, but all of them have been resolved.

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