Tis’ the (almost) season of snow-covered backyards, steamy hot chocolate, and holiday celebrations. Though many festivities will be celebrated this winter, one of the most popular holidays in the United States is Christmas. For those of you who celebrate this holiday most often associated with gift giving, there is one gift to keep off of wish lists.

While the furry faces and enthusiastic personalities of puppies will certainly bring a smile to a child’s face, purchasing a puppy from the local pet store may actually be supporting puppy mills. Puppies that are “produced” at mills are often sold to commercial pets stores that falsely advertise the origin of the dogs by saying they are from “USDA licensed breeders” or even “local breeders.”

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It is estimated that there are about 10,000 puppy mills (both licensed and unlicensed) in the U.S. The size of each puppy mill can range, and some mills even house upwards of 1,000 breeding dogs. Oftentimes, dogs who are used for breeding are placed in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions by caretakers who avoid giving dogs the personal attention they deserve.

According to the ASPCA, enough is enough. Dogs should no longer be “manufactured” and shipped out to popular department stores like stuffed toys. Please visit this website and take the holiday pledge that you won’t purchase a puppy from a pet stores – adopt, don’t shop!