Many new laws go into effect today in Maryland, including a law to try and prevent puppy mill dogs from ending up in local pet stores.
In South Carolina, investigators found more than 250 dogs in deplorable conditions. By setting new regulations on pet stores, the new Maryland law hopes to crack down on puppy mills.
"Consumers have a right to know where their puppies are coming from. Who is breeding their dogs and if their dogs have any kind of inheritable genetic illness or diseases," said Melanie Kahn of the Humane Society of the United States.
From now on, if you go to a pet store, by law the store will have to reveal the name and location of the breeder. The law also allows consumers to get their money back if their dog gets sick or dies within a certain time frame.
"If pet stores don't have anything to hide then they shouldn't have a problem giving consumers this kind of information," said Kahn.
Kahn says puppy mills are a huge problem in the U.S. The Humane Society estimates there are 10,000 puppy mills around the country, pumping out between three or four million dogs each year.
At the Big Bad Woof in Hyattsville, a pet health food store, owner Pennye Jones-Napier chose not to sell puppies.
"It's a conscious decision not to sell animals. It's a very conscious decision on our part," said Napier.
But she says for those who decide to sell puppies, it should be done with transparency.
"It's just a way to help the public ensure that what they're getting is an animal that's been well-cared for all through the supply chain process," said Napier.
If you're thinking of buying a dog, consider adoption. If you don't want to do it through a shelter, make sure you do it through a reputable breeder and insist on seeing the place where your dog was born and raised.