Maryland Gov. signs legislation to ban the sale of puppies in retail stores

By Lindsey Collins

Maryland became the second state to ban the sale of puppies and kittens in retail pet stores after Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed the legislation into law on April 24.

The bill, which was first passed in California, will prohibit the sale of dogs by retail pet stores starting in 2020.

The bill is said to address the issue of “puppy mills,” an establishment that typically breeds puppies on an intensive basis and in conditions regarded as inhumane.

Puppy mill breeding dogs live their entire lives in small wire cages with no human companionship, toys, or comfort, and little hope of ever becoming part of a family,” The Humane Society of the United States writes on its website.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) of California signed the first statewide bill like this, which required pet stores to sell animals from shelters and rescue centers only, last October.

Hogan thanked Maryland SPCA, BARCS Animal Shelter, and the Baltimore Humane Society via Facebook for bringing the various dogs– including some that even sat in on the ceremony– to the bill signing.

“My family owns four dogs and one cat, and we have saved our pets from shelters,” sophomore environmental science major Anna Eyler said. “I am definitely for this ban.”

Maryland is one of the few states that has regulations to catch breeders with inhumane conditions, including legislation developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the past two years.

“I am a pet owner and I believe this bill is making a huge step forward in addressing the issues with puppy mills,” said Mackenzie Thompson, a senior public health science major. “I believe it will help prospective pet owners in adopting pets and not just shopping for a pet.”

Hogan signed the legislation despite resistance from the owners of Maryland’s pet stores.

The owners of the seven affected stores lobbied for the governor to veto the bill but were unsuccessful, according to The Washington Post.

“We’re against large breeders,” Donna Ryan, co-manager of Just Puppies in Towson told The Baltimore Sun. “We go beyond the rules that Maryland has already established.”

While recognizing the potential harm for the owners of the businesses, Hogan voiced that the laws could do more good than bad.

“There are about seven pet stores in Maryland that might be affected, but there are thousands of puppies,” Hogan said, standing outside the statehouse with several dogs up for adoption, according to The Post.

Others believe that the ban will cause more people to seek out dogs online and run the risk of being overcharged, Joseph Wagner, owner of Today’s Pet in Elkridge, told Fox 5.  

This was just one of 207 bills Hogan signed on Tuesday, including legislation that aims to reduce gun violence in Baltimore.

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