BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Just Puppies, a pet shop with locations in Towson and Rockville, agreed to a settlement prohibiting the company from selling dogs in Maryland following allegations the business violated state law by sourcing animals from puppy mills, Attorney General Brian Frosh announced on Friday.

Under the settlement, Just Puppies and owner Mitchell Thomson agreed to refund payments for dogs purchased since Jan. 1, 2020 or to cover the cost of treatment of certain medical conditions for dogs bought at the store.

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Frosh’s office levied a $500,000 civil penalty on Just Puppies, but the number can be reduced to $100,000 if the business complies with the other stipulations in the settlement.

“This settlement resolves allegations that Just Puppies and its owner violated laws intended to protect animals from irresponsible breeding and mistreatment,” said Frosh. “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.”

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In a statement, Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, Maryland state director for the Humane Society of the United States, praised the settlement and encouraged Frosh to go after other companies that source animals from puppy mills.

The state passed the No More Puppy-Mills Act in 2018 to ban the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores. The legislation, which went into effect at the start of 2020, was designed “to protect Maryland consumers from unknowingly purchasing a sick and often behaviorally-challenged puppy from a puppy mill, leading to steep veterinary bills and too often, heartbreak,” Bevan-Dangel said.

Frosh charged Just Puppies in June, alleging the company violated the puppy mill law and the Consumer Protection Act when it misled customers about where its puppies were sourced.

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Just Puppies also allegedly continued to operate its Rockville location even after the city pulled its pet shop license, Frosh’s office said.

CBS Baltimore Staff