SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Pet stores are suing to block a Maryland law that will bar them from selling commercially bred dogs and cats, a measure billed as a check against unlicensed and substandard "puppy mills."
The federal lawsuit, filed Friday, challenges a ban set to take effect Jan. 1, 2020. Maryland is the second state, after California, to pass such restrictions on the sale of dogs and cats.
The pet stores fear the ban will put them out of business. Their lawsuit says animal welfare organizations have made unfounded claims that pet stores are fueling the growth of puppy mills.
The suit also claims the ban will effectively shift the sale of puppies from regulated retailers to unregulated sources.
Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, signed the legislation into law in April 2018.