WASHINGTON - Nine of 12 pet stores visited in September as part of an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States did not comply with a Maryland law that requires them to post on each dog cage every dog's breeding and origins.
The law requires the state in which the breeder or broker is located and the U.S. Department of Agriculture license number of the breeder or broker. Brokers are middlemen who resell to pet stores.
Using that information consumers can find out whether the breeder has a history of animal welfare problems.
The Humane Society of the United States said the nine stores either refused to provide details about the breeders, or the puppies came from distant states from dealers that bought from puppy mills.
In the three stores that posted the information -- Just Puppies in Towson, Just Puppies in Rockville, and Charm City Puppies in Columbia -- the Humane Society found the puppies came from large commercial dealers in what it says are "some of the nation's most notorious puppy mill states, including Arkansas, Iowa, and Missouri."
In the case of one store, Genesis Pets of Capitol Heights, the puppy investigators called Prince George's County Animal Control to report a sick and malnourished Rottweiler puppy. The underweight puppy was found to have coccidia and pneumonia.