ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill into law Tuesday banning pet stores from selling puppies and kittens. The intention of the new law is to crack down on puppy mills, though some pet shop owners say it goes too far.
Donna Zeigfinger's 10-year-old dog, Rudy, was one of about 1,000 animals rescued during a raid at a puppy mill in West Virginia. She helped fight for the new legislation.
"It's been a really good day today," said Zeigfinger. "I have been waiting for this day for 10 years."
She was in Annapolis for the bill signing along with others like herself who lobbied for the new law.
"These dogs and cats are never touched by humans," said Zeigfinger. "Most of them have never touched the ground before and don't know what grass feels like. [Rudy] was a nervous wreck when we first got him. All he would do is sit and shake and not let anyone touch him at all."
Maryland is the second state after California to ban puppy and kitten sales in retail pet stores. Pet shops can still adopt out dogs and cats that come from shelters. This will impact only a handful of pet stores in Maryland that currently sell puppies when the law takes effect in 2020.
A pet shop owner in Howard County said he is for stricter laws to crack down on puppy mills, but this new law goes too far.
Joseph Wagner, owner of Today's Pet in Elkridge, said he has been in the business for 40 years and only uses legitimate breeders. Wagner believes the new law will cause more people to go online to buy dogs and potentially get ripped off.
Animal advocates said there are efforts to pass similar laws in other states.