The ASPCA has declared this as the month to remember all the gorgeous canines in shelters who are patiently waiting for their forever homes.

People are learning that pet stores can and do sell animals from puppy mills, defined by the ASPCA as "a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs."

Also according to the ASPCA,

"There is no legal definition of "puppy mill." Many pet store owners will tell you they get all their puppies from "licensed USDA breeders" or "local breeders." In fact, in order to sell puppies to pet stores, a breeder must be licensed by the USDA! Pet stores often use this licensing to provide a false sense of security to customers, when what it really means is that they do, in fact, get their puppies from puppy mills.

The fact is, responsible breeders would never sell a puppy through a pet store because they want to screen potential buyers to ensure that the puppies are going to good homes."

I worked for the Humane Society of Ocean City for a couple of years and I know first hand the many great dogs that are available from shelters, including highly sought after breeds and dogs of all ages, including puppies.

Please consider celebrating the month by visiting your local shelter for your next best friend and having the satisfaction of knowing your dog didn't come from a puppy mill!