Does your local pet store still sell commercially-bred puppies? There’s a pretty good chance that those cute little puppies (and kittens and rabbits, as well) come from large-scale breeding facilities called puppy mills that have come under fire for the intensive breeding of purebred animals in conditions that are often unsanitary, unsafe, and inhumane.
Luckily, more and more cities and towns around the U.S. are taking steps to change this. There’s a large (and growing) list of local jurisdictions that have banned the sale of commercially-bred puppies, kittens, and rabbits in pet stores. Pet stores will still be able to house pets from animal shelters and rescue organizations. Here in San Diego County, San Marcos just became the most recent jurisdiction to ban retail puppy sales. Does your community have a ban? You can check this list, maintained by the Best Friends Animal Society to find out.
If you are interested in a particular breed of puppy, there are lots of ways to find one without relying on vendors (including questionable online sellers) that work with puppy mills. You can do a breed-specific search on Petfinder, check out the American Kennel Club’s Dog Breed Rescue Network, and you can even adopt a former puppy mill dog at National Mill Dog Rescue!