To the editor:
This holiday season I would like to remind everyone about some issues regarding pets.
First, please don't get someone a dog or cat as a gift for Christmas. Pets are not "gifts." They are living creatures with needs and wants that have to be tended to for their whole lives -- usually at least 12 years. Too many people get family members pets for Christmas, and after a few weeks or months, once the newness wears off, animals end up in shelters or thrown outside and forgotten about. A pet is an important, lifelong decision.
Secondly, please don't buy a puppy from a pet store. When you buy, you are supporting the puppy mill industry, plain and simple. Puppy mills are very substandard, mass-breeding facilities that sell their "livestock" to brokers, who in turn truck them off to stores across the country. More than likely, not only will you pay an outrageous amount of money for the puppy, you will probably end up with high vet bills because many of the mill pups have all kinds of health and genetic problems resulting from inbreeding and horrible housing conditions.
Lastly, if you do decide you want a companion animal, please support local shelters (our Lawrence shelter is wonderful), rescue organizations and small, reputable breeders. With over an estimated 8 million pets euthanized every year in our country, we owe it to these abandoned, lost souls to adopt them, and not support the puppy mill industry whose main concern is profit.