To the Editor,

I would like to warn readers not to put cruelty on their shopping lists this year. The holidays are a busy season for puppy sales and people need to know that when they purchase puppies over the Internet, through newspaper ads, or at pet stores, they are often unknowingly supporting a puppy mill.?Puppy mills are inhumane breeding facilities that produce puppies in large numbers. They are designed to maximize profits and commonly disregard the physical, social, and emotional health of the dogs. The breeding dogs at puppy mills live their entire lives in cages, and the poor conditions cause puppies to have more physical and behavioral problems than dogs from good sources. The best way to stop puppy mills is for consumers to stop supporting them. To find a puppy from a reputable source, visit your local animal shelter or find a reputable breeder and visit their premises in person to see how and where your puppyís mother is living.?Responsible pet purchasing, adoption, and ongoing guardianship takes effort. But, itís worth it to do things right, and find the canine companion of a lifetime. By finding a responsible breeder, shelter or rescue group, you can help defeat the inhumane puppy mill system that places profit above animal welfare. Readers can look up local shelters and breed rescue groups at www.petfinder.org and www.pets911.com. A checklist of good breeder characteristics is available at www.humanesociety.org/puppy. People who love dogs need to help stop them from being mistreated by making sure they arenít supporting a puppy mill!

Melanie Henry,

Dumas, Texas