A new law has taken full effect in Maryland that aims to ban pet stores in the state from selling dogs bred in so-called “puppy mills.”
H.B. 1662, also known as the No More Puppy- and Kitten-Mills Act of 2018, was enacted on Wednesday, almost two years after Gov. Larry Hogan (R) first signed the measure into law in April 2018.
“I was proud to push for and enact the No More Puppy- and Kitten-Mills Act of 2018, which bans retail stores from the sale of commercially-bred pets that all too often come from inhumane breeding mills,” Hogan wrote of the legislation in a Facebook post on Thursday.
“We will continue to advocate on behalf of animal welfare and encourage safe, humane pet adoption here in Maryland,” he continued.
The legislation places tight restrictions on retail pet stores in the state that sell dogs and cats. Under the new measure, the pet stores can only sell a dog or cat if the animal was obtained from an animal welfare organization, an animal control unit or licensed breeders that meet certain requirements laid out in the bill text.
The bill also requires pet stores in the state that continue to sell the pets under the newly enacted rules to post information regarding the animal’s breed, age, sex and date of birth in its stores, as well as other information detailing the entity from which they were obtained.
In an analysis of the legislation offered by the state General Assembly’s Department of Legislative Services, the bill, which has been met with legal challenges in the past year from some pet stores, noted the effect the measure is expected to have on some small businesses in the state.
“Retail pet stores that are small businesses are prohibited from selling, transferring, or otherwise disposing of cats or dogs, which for some stores may significantly reduce revenues,” the bill analysis states. “Further, dog and cat breeders that are small businesses lose a potential customer in retail pet stores and must sell directly to consumers."
According to a local CBS station, at least three pet stores in Maryland have brought legal challenges against the state over the legislation, which they argue is unconstitutional and will severely hurt their businesses.
When asked about the impact the bill would have on small businesses after he signed the law in 2018, Hogan said then that the legislation seeks to crack down primarily on “the puppy mills,” The Washington Post reported at the time.
“There are about seven pet stores in Maryland that might be affected, but there are thousands of puppies,” he reportedly said at the time. “What do you think?”
California was the first state to enact similar legislation seeking to ban stores from selling dogs bred in puppy mills back in 2017.