Maryland pet shops still selling puppies despite new ban

More than seven months after Maryland became the second state in the nation to ban pet stores from selling puppies and kittens, FOX 5 found some stores are still selling with no plans to stop.

The law is meant to target puppy mills since pet stores often rely on them.

READ MORE: Maryland pet shops no longer allowed to sell cats and dogs

Two of the shops still selling dogs, Just Puppies in Rockville and Charm City Puppies in Columbia, unsuccessfully sued the state, claiming the law is unconstitutional.

Sen. Ben Kramer (D-Montgomery Co.) sponsored the legislation and said what’s happening is a clear violation of the law.

“I immediately reached out to the attorney general’s office, asked them to immediately address it and stop this from happening,” said Kramer.

Kramer said 25 weeks have passed since he initially reached out and the stores are still selling dogs.

Travis Martz, an attorney for the two shops, said their stance is they can legally sell to customers if the customers make an appointment first.

“There’s nothing in the law that states that they can’t sell by appointment,” said Martz.

FOX 5 reached out to the office of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh asking if pet stores can sell online or by appointment.

A spokeswoman replied: “the Maryland statute prohibits pet stores from selling cats and dogs to the public, no matter what method they use.”
“That’s just incorrect,” said Martz. “The law specifically says that a retail pet store is a for-profit establishment open to the public.”

Kramer said he doesn’t see that as a loophole in the law.

“In my mind, there’s absolutely no loophole,” Kramer said.

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The Humane Society of the U.S. was part of the effort to get this law passed.

“We’re in for the long fight,” said John Goodwin, Senior Director of the organization’s Stop Puppy Mills Campaign.

He said the Humane Society has also filed complaints with the attorney general.

”If we have to go back to the General Assembly, we will do that, but we’re going to make sure that dogs are protected,” said Goodwin. “And we’re not going to put up with it.”

When asked if the attorney general was aware of shops selling by appointment, a spokesperson said she cannot confirm or deny if an investigation is underway.