Maryland law bans sale of dogs, cats at pet stores

A new law went into effect Thursday, definitively banning Maryland pet stores from selling dogs and cats.

Lawmakers and the Attorney General’s Office say the practice should have been halted a year and half ago, but three pet stores have refused to stop selling, although one of those three shops is now saying they will stop doing it.

Charm City Puppies in Columbia says they’re going to adhere to the new law.

The law took effect back in 2020 and said pet stores had to stop selling dogs and cats. It was called ‘The Puppy Mill Act’, and it targeted the puppy mills that so often supply pet stores.

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Most of the state's pet stores complied, but the three that did not argue they were allowed to keep selling to the public by appointment only.

Maryland’s Attorney General says that’s not a correct interpretation and although it took more than a year, he has now filed charges against two shops--the ‘Just Puppies’ stores in Rockville and Towson.

As far as we know, those stores will keep selling despite the new law and the legal action.

There are no puppies for sale listed on their websites right now, but when FOX 5’s Linsday Watts called the Rockville store, they said they should have some later this month.

The attorneys for those two stores have refused to respond.

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A spokesperson for the Humane Society’s Stop Puppy Mills campaign questions how they can keep it up.

"I don’t know how much legal trouble a business has to get into before they decide to follow the law," said John Goodwin with the Humane Society. "Ending the sale of puppies and converting to a humane business model based on pet products and pet services can be very lucrative to them and can provide relief to the dogs trapped in puppy mills when they’re no longer funding those sorts of operations and buying those puppies and selling them to Maryland families." 

These businesses do not have to close completely. They can continue to operate and sell pet supplies, but the stores that chose to stay open have made a lot of money because the other pet stores stopped selling dogs.