Maryland pet stores found to not comply with puppy mill laws

Bella, who was purchased from a Glen Burnie pet store last year, died at just 12 weeks old. Photo: Katie McCarthy/Humane Society

(WJLA) - A series of Maryland pet stores that sell puppies are not complying with with a law compelling them to disclose exactly where the young dogs came from, a Humane Society investigation has revealed.

An investigation jointly executed by the Humane Society of the United States and the non-profit ReLove Animals
organization found that nine of the 12 pet stores that sell puppies in Maryland were not posting information about the origins of each dog.

In one case, a puppy at a Prince George's County pet store was immediately seized by Humane Society officials because it was in such poor health.

The law compelling pet stores to post information about its puppies was designed to discourage pet stores from selling dogs that were conceived in puppy mills, which are known to produce dogs of ill health. It went into effect last year.

The legislation requires stores to conspicuously post, at the least, the dog's state of origin and the license number of the breeder as issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With that information, potential dog buyers are able to avoid buying dogs that come from puppy mills or breeders with poor reputations.

Each of the stores found not to be in compliance either posted insufficient information on cages or none whatsoever.

Humane Society officials say that the most startling incident came at Genesis Pets in Capitol Heights, where investigators found "disturbing conditions." One of the Rottweiler puppies at the store was so underweight and ill with coccidia and pneumonia that Animal Control seized it for treatment.

Stores in Elkridge, Glen Burnie and across the Baltimore area and the Eastern Shore were also found to be non-compliant during the investigation.