2021 | Government

Rockville pet store one of two charged with illegally selling dogs

State does not allow retail puppy, kitten sales

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Just Puppies in Rockville is one of two pet stores accused of violating the state's Puppy Mills law, which bans the sale of puppies and kittens in retail stores

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A Rockville pet store is one of two charged with violating the state’s Puppy Mills law, which bans the sale of puppies and kittens in retail stores.

Just Puppies, which operates stores in Rockville and Towson, is accusing of violating the law, which the legislature passed in 2018, according to a press release from Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office. The law took effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Representatives from Just Puppies could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.

Just Puppies’ Rockville store at 2004 Veirs Mill Road has offered and sold dogs for 17 years according to documents from the attorney general’s office. The stores don’t breed the dogs, but order them from breeders and arrange for their transportation, documents state.

Other than a shift to an appointment-only model in February 2020, Just Puppies has not made any changes to its business practices since the Puppy Mills law took effect, according to documents.

Frosh said in a press release that shifting to an appointment-only model “does not exempt stores from this law that was designed to curb the sourcing of animals from irresponsible breeders.”

Documents state that Just Puppies claims that it works directly with its breeders, and has done so for more than 10 years in some cases. But the Attorney General’s office claims the stores have purchased dogs through online exchanges.

The attorney general’s complaint goes on to allege that Just Puppies has misled customers by telling them the business can sell dogs legally and that they haven’t told customers that they give dogs from breeders with whom they had no relationship.

The complaint also alleges that the Rockville location has operated without a pet store license since September 2020.

The Attorney General’s Office is seeking an injunction and monetary penalties, according to the complaint. An administrative hearing is scheduled for Sept. 13.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com