PET OWNERSHIP DEFENSE
ALLIANCE (P.O.D.A)

LEGAL DEFENSE FUNDRAISING PROPOSAL

I. MISSION STATEMENT

Protecting responsible ownership through sincerity, and transparency by ensuring that pet owners are free to choose the pet that meets their lifestyle criteria and ensuring that pet breeders are able to continue to provide the consumer with the highest quality, purpose-bred pets. 

II. BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION

In 2017, California became the first state to pass a state-wide ban on retail pet stores.  The real target of this legislation was the pet stores that primarily sold puppies coming from out-of-state breeders.   This ban went into effect on January 1, 2019.   In 2018, the Maryland legislature passed a state-wide ban on retail pet stores.  This ban goes into effect on January 1, 2020.  Unlike California, Maryland had specific laws that regulated retail pet stores prior to passing the state-wide ban.  Many local jurisdictions have previously enacted retail pet store bans, and a flurry of attempts at additional state-wide bans are coming in 2020.  To date, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Nevada, Oregon are debating state-wide bans on retail pet stores.

PODA is going to mount a legal attack challenging these state-wide bans as being unconstitutional. Using the legal framework already established in other states, PODA intends to exhibit important facts in the Maryland ban to seek a federal court decision overturning the Maryland law.   A federal court win will become an essential precedent to help other states and courts look unfavorably upon pet store ban campaigns by Animal Rights Organizations.

II. OBJECTIVES

A. Fundraising

A federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of retail pet store bans is not an inexpensive undertaking.   A detailed complaint must be filed followed by complex discovery and eventually a trial.  The Attorney General for Maryland will be tasked with defending Maryland law, and they will not lightly defend the acts of the legislature.   Should PODA secure an initial federal court decision in their favor, an appeal should be anticipated.

PODA is primarily being funded by the retail pet stores in Maryland through a fee added to the cost of each puppy sold.  The Maryland retail pet stores are also seeking monetary support from their breeders, brokers, vendors, and consumers.  Every retail pet store is facing the threat of a ban, and should seriously consider donating to PODA. These pet stores should also be making their breeders, brokers, and vendors aware of this legal defense and encourage financial participation.

B. Research

PODA has hired a research team to explore the constitutional issues that may invalidate retail pet store bans.  However, it is difficult to keep track of the ever-changing landscape now that additional states are proposing bans.  PODA needs to stay abreast of all current information challenging the freedom of puppy stores to legally sell in any given state.   Research is the secondary objective of PODA.   It is essential for concerned parties to not only provide monetary support but informational support as well to advance the PODA mission statement

III. LAWSUIT IMPLEMENTATION AND MANAGEMENT PLAN
A. Filing of federal complaint

A Maryland law firm that possesses experience dealing with constitutional issues on the federal level has been retained.  This firm has also successfully litigated cases that have invalidated enacted laws in the past.  PODA has raised enough initial capital to begin the research process and start a draft of the original complaint seeking invalidation of the Maryland ban. While additional legal defense capital is needed, the federal complaint is anticipated to be filed.

B. Litigation process

Upon the filing of the initial complaint to commence the Federal litigation process, legal defense fundraising must continue, with this capital the Maryland Attorney General’s office will prepare a vigorous response defending the retail pet store ban law and its constitutional sufficiency.  Lawyers engaged by PODA anticipate a federal court decision by the end of 2019.  If the retail pet store ban is not overturned by a federal judge, PODA will appeal the decision to the Fourth Circuit.

C. Lawsuit Beneficiaries

This lawsuit impacts retail pet stores, brokers and breeders nationally.  There has yet to be a successful legal decision rendered in the favor of retail pet stores.   A few jurisdictions have formulated strong legal challenges but never obtained a judicial victory.   A judicial win will provide invaluable leverage for retail pet stores, brokers, and breeders nationally that are fighting independent bans.