2021 | News

Pet store company fined $500,000 by attorney general for illegally selling dogs

Fine could be lowered if store complies with terms of settlement

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Just Puppies, a pet store company with locations in Rockville and Towson, was fined $500,000 as part of a settlement with state Attorney General’s Office, which says the stores violated state law by selling dogs.

Just Puppies’ fine could be reduced to $100,000 if the company complies with the terms of the settlement.

Attorney General Brian Frosh announced in June that his office was investigating allegations that the stores violated a state law that took effect Jan. 1, 2020, banning the sale of puppies and kittens in retail stores.

Frosh’s office said in June that Just Puppies’ stores purchased dogs through online exchanges and that they misled customers by telling them the business could sell dogs legally. The complaint also alleged that Just Puppies didn’t tell customers that the Rockville location had operated without a pet store license since September 2020.

The settlement, announced Friday, bans Just Puppies from selling dogs and gives restitution to customers who bought puppies with a congenital disorder or hereditary condition, according to an announcement from Frosh’s office.

“This settlement resolves allegations that Just Puppies and its owner violated laws intended to protect animals from irresponsible breeding and mistreatment,” Frosh said in a statement. “Consumers who were misled by Just Puppies and purchased sick dogs will get their money back or receive compensation to help pay for their pet’s care.”

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

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