Good news! Maryland just became the second state in the US to ban the sale of puppies and kittens. On Tuesday, Gov. Larry Hogan signed HB 1662 into law. Though pet owners claim more troubles will arise as a result of the legislation, animal rights activists claim the move will reduce demand for dogs born in “puppy mills.”
When Gov. Hogan signed the bill into law, he dismissed questions about whether or not the legislation will harm small business owners in the state. Rather, he stated that the real concern is “the puppy mills.” Said Hogan: “There are about seven pet stores in Maryland that might be affected, but there are thousands of puppies. What do you think?”
The legislation, which will go into effect by 2020, was sponsored by Del. Benjamin F. Kramer. According to The Washington Post, Kramer is a longtime owner of adopted Doberman pinschers and views the commercial breeders who supply stores to be “abominations.” He is most concerned with the lack of “room for puppies to roam and for breeding dogs to play.”
The state already has regulations in place which require stores to reveal breeder information. Stores are also not allowed to use breeders that the United States Department of Agriculture has cited in the past two years. However, Kramer does not believe these regulations are enough to protect animals.
Before HB 1662 was signed, pet store owners fought against the law. Jeanea Thomson, the co-founder of Just Puppies, says she doesn’t want puppies sourced from puppy mills in her store. Furthermore, she and her husband personally visit their breeders, most of whom live in Iowa and Missouri, to vouch for their conditions.
Emily McCobb, a professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, also opposes the ban. She believes the move could cause a shortage of dogs, leaving people unsure of where to get a pet. “There’s a lot of messaging around ‘adopt, don’t shop,’” said McCobb. “But we haven’t done a good job of messaging about how to find responsible breeders.”
Humane Society Maryland state director Emily Hovermale welcomed the development. She described the ban as a life-saving measure and said it will limit the number of puppy mills in the state. “Maryland has set an important precedent with this rejection of animal abuse that other states will surely follow,” said Hovermale.
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