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Maryland Legislature Prohibits Pet Stores Selling ‘Puppy Mill’ Pets

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The Maryland General Assembly approved a bill that would ban Maryland pet stores from selling dogs that were born in puppy mills, and now the bill has been sent to Governor Larry Hogan.

The No More Puppy and Kitten Mills Act of 2018 also covers the sales of cats and puts limitations on where pet stores can source the pets they sell. Under the bill, unless pets come from animal welfare organizations, animal control units or licensed breeders, pet stores are not allowed to sell them to consumers.

Related: Trump Administration Allows Puppy Mills’ Violations To Be Kept Private

Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch testified to the benefits of the bill, and his sister, Kathleen “Laurie” Bernhardt stood by with him. Bernhardt donated half of her liver to her brother, and joked that the only thing she wanted in exchange was the puppy mill proposal to become law in Maryland.

The Governor is expected to sign the measure, though he can also let it become law without his endorsement or even veto it. Animal rights advocates say that it’s imperative in Maryland, as puppy mills are more rampant than people know, and lawmakers themselves claim to know of at least seven pet stores in Maryland that sell from puppy mills.

The co-manager of one of those stores testified against the bill, saying that their store, Just Puppies in Towson, MD, only deals with small breeders and that they are against large breeders to ensure dogs are healthy and humanely treated.

Related: British Government Wants to Crack Down on Puppy Mill Breeders

Yet, according to the Puppy Mill Project, a non-profit that works to end puppy mill cruelty through education and advocacy, there are regions of the country where puppy mills are rampant, and many happen to be in Amish communities. I happen to live in a county in which this is the case, and many of the dogs I’ve helped foster have come from Amish puppy mill breeders in this area of Maryland.

If the law takes effect as is expected, Maryland will follow in the steps of California, which was the first state to pass similar restrictions in 2017. The Humane Society is now turning its attention to Ohio, which is the second-largest puppy mill state in the country, as already Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois and Rhode Island are already considering similar bans.


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