By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Matthew Sisk: Steer clear of pet store purchases
Placeholder Image

The language of the universe is written in numbers.

The acceleration of gravity, the motions of the planets and even the temperature of a healthy cat. All of these can be described with numbers of varying intricacies.

But good science will tell you, almost nothing is certain. So when we talk about a prognosis for a disease or even the likelihood of a disease, we are talking about the odds.

For example, if I said “Hey, you! Your dog is fat!” I’d be rude.

But for at least 80 percent of the population, I’d be right.

Or if I said, “Your cat resents the changes you have made.” I’d be downright uncanny, along with my crystal ball.

But for the following, I’m playing the odds and offering you a warning.

Don’t go into stores that sell puppies — not during the holiday season and not ever.

Don’t look in the front window at the mall. Just don’t do it to yourself.

The majority of puppies and kittens that come from such stores are not from responsible breeders. In fact, many of the little fuzz balls come from atrocious puppy mills or similar facilities for kittens.

Producing cute young animals is profitable. Doing so with little regard for the health or well-being of the animals improves profits.

Many of the mill-produced pups will have health problems as a result of line breeding. In this practice, you breed for looks and nothing else.

Thus, you get a puppy that looks ridiculously cute, but has epilepsy. Or a kitten with a gorgeous round face and a heart murmur. Or maybe you only get a dog that bites anyone who gets close to it.

Sometimes, the young animals are completely healthy, but their mothers are not so lucky. As some mills focus on producing the attractive product, the mothers are treated like factories. Factories don’t feel pain or fear. Poorly cared-for dogs and cats do.

So please, resist the urge. I understand. I really do. But when you overpay for that cute little baby, you may be investing in misery on many levels. Instead, find a reputable breeder or adopt.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at