Court Upholds Maryland Law That Shut Down the Puppy Mill Pipeline

November 15, 2021

White dog

Across the U.S., puppy-selling pet stores and commercial pet breeders have failed to convince courts to undo laws fighting puppy mill cruelty.

In 2020, Maryland passed a statewide law to shut down the puppy mill pipeline into the state by ending the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. The law was later challenged by four area pet stores, a Missouri-based broker and a commercial breeder who claimed the law was unconstitutional. That challenge failed and the law was upheld.

Some pet stores, however, refused to comply with the law, claiming a loophole allowed them to sell puppies if they did so by appointment. This forced lawmakers to amend the law in 2021. The law was again challenged, and last month a judge upheld the law as constitutional.

In seven jurisdictions across the country, courts have reached the same conclusion: localities, counties and states have the authority to protect animals and consumers. And when communities act to stop the sale of cruelly bred dogs in pet stores, those laws are consistently upheld by the courts.

Just last month, the Maryland Attorney General announced that two pet stores, which were allegedly violating the law, agreed to abide by the restriction and stop selling puppies, refund customers who purchased sick dogs and pay a fine of up to $500,000.

This sends an undeniable message to the pet industry–there is no place for puppy mill cruelty. We commend Maryland and the other jurisdictions who have put a stop to the puppy mill pipeline to protect pets and consumers!

Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to be notified when important animal-related legislation is introduced in your area! Nearly 400 cities and towns across America have stopped the retail sale of cruelly bred puppies … yours could be next.