STATE NEWS: Maryland Becomes Second State to Ban Puppy-Mill Pets

The governor of Maryland recently signed legislation banning retail pet stores from selling puppies and kittens younger than eight weeks of age.
Kerry Lengyel
Published: May 02, 2018
California was the trailblazer as the first state to require all dogs, cats and rabbits sold at pet stores to be rescue animals, and now Maryland is following suit.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed the No More Puppy and Kitten Mills Act of 2018 into law last week, banning the sale of any puppies or kitten in pet stores throughout the state. The new regulations are set to take full effect January 1, 2020.

According to the newly passed legislation, “a dog or cat younger than eight weeks of age may not be sold or distributed in the state unless it is accompanied by its female parent.” All dogs and cats for sale at retail pet stores throughout the state must now be obtained from:
  • An animal welfare organization
  • An animal control unit
  • The original breeder of the animal, or dealer that obtained the animal from the original breeder

The sale of cats and dogs by retail pet stores are subject to additional specific requirements, explained in the fiscal and policy note.

Current Maryland law already requires pet stores to disclose information about animal breeders and bars pet stores from using any animal breeders that have received citations from the U.S. Agriculture Department within the past two years. But Delegate Benjamin F. Kramer, the legislation’s sponsor, said this was not enough.

Opponents of the bill claim that lawmakers have inaccurately characterized the responsible breeders they use as puppy mills.

“We don’t want puppy-mill puppies,” Jeanea Thomson, co-owner of Just Puppies, a pet-store with locations in Rockville and Towson, said. “Most of these puppies are being bred on farms.” Thomson said that she couldn’t have been in business for 20 years if the breeders her pet store used weren’t caring for the dogs.

Three other states have proposed bans on puppy-mill pets already this year. Which will be the next to enact state-wide legislation?

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