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Judge Upholds Maryland Ban on Pet Store Dog/Cat Sales; Other States Under Threat


A federal judge has dismissed a court challenge to Maryland’s landmark law prohibiting the sales of puppies and kittens in pet stores.

Today, nearly 350 communities, from Albuquerque to Chicago to Pittsburgh, to most recently, Naperville, IL have banned sales of dogs and cats (and in a few instances also rabbits) at pet stores.

Maryland will now continue their ban, as entire states of California and Maine (only to prohibit any new pet stores) continue their bans. Other states are expected to follow, perhaps including New York.

Why the bans?

It’s because NO responsible breeder ever sells to a pet store, so these are mass produced dogs (and cats), most often from puppy mills.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander, who also denied the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction blocking the law’s enforcement, said she found ample evidence that state lawmakers had a “rational basis” for enacting the Maryland pet store statute.

The failed lawsuit against the Maryland law was brought by four pet stores along with a Missouri-based puppy mill broker, Pinnacle Pet aka Sobrad LLC, and a Missouri commercial breeder. It argued that the law banning pet store sales of dogs and cats is unconstitutional and even went so far as to claim the stores’ chosen broker, Pinnacle, had a spotless record.

Well, hold your horses,, according to the Humane Society of the United States, Pinnacle has in fact been linked to an incident in which eight puppies died after being left in a hot truck and another incident in which puppies were found in poor conditions during transport. The HSUS undercover Petland investigations also found some stores had sourced sick puppies from Pinnacle.

Rolling Back Laws Already Passed, Pre Emption

Now, in Illinois and elsewhere efforts and money is being spent on attempting to roll back laws which limit pet store sales. Illinois, House Bill 4105 introduced by State Representative Margo McDermed at the behest of Petland, that would do exactly that. If that bill passes, it would nullify anti-puppy-mill ordinances passed by 14 communities in Illinois, including Naperville. Oddly, HB 4105 also, as currently written, classifies any person who possesses or houses five female dogs as a professional breeder. This would subject those dog owners to costly and intrusive regulations intended for commercial businesses. I’m unclear how this might impact people who rescue and foster dogs, let alone responsible breeders.

Banning sales of dogs and cats unconstitutional? I don’t think so. In Chicago, as only one example, spray paint can’t be sold. There are thousands of examples like this across the country.

However, what I do feel may be unconstitutional is rolling back laws, which have been passed only because you don’t like what happened and have the money to fight.


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