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Save a pet by adopting from a shelter

April 4, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's hard not to get smitten by that adorable puppy in the pet store window. But, as we saw on Friday's Oprah Winfrey show, many of those pricey puppies come from a hidden world of puppy mills.Meanwhile, thousands of puppies and dogs crowd local animal shelters, looking for permanent homes.

Last December, an upscale pet store in Bel Air with customers like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, was closed. That came after a three-month undercover investigation by the Humane Society found the store purchased puppies from a puppy mill.

"Pet stores that are selling animals from Arkansas or Tennessee, out of state, or out of other communities, should be suspect," said Ed Boks, general manager of L.A. Animal Services.

Last year, L.A. Animal Services adopted out more than 10,000 dogs, a 15-percent increase over the year before. But more than 6,000 were euthanized, though the numbers are dropping as the city pushes toward the goal of becoming "no-kill."

"Over the last five years, we've reduced euthanasia by 50 percent," said Boks. "We reduced it in 2007 by 25 percent alone. We're very close to achieving it, but we're not there, and we really need the help of the community to get there."

Saving lives is just one reason people come to the shelters.

"We brought my daughter to come and see if there was any dog that needed a home," said Jessica Contreras. "We wanted to help a dog, rather than go and buy a dog."

"Shelters want to take care of them and find them good homes," said Haley Katz, who adopted a dog.

Each week on Eyewitness News in the morning, we also feature pets up for adoption.

"Rather than purchasing an animal, save a life and adopt a pet," said Boks.

After Friday's show on puppy mills, even Oprah Winfrey says she will never get a dog before going to a shelter first.

To find out more about adopting a new pet:

Last Chance for Animals

L.A. Animal Services


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