Look at these precious faces. These are the faces of "under-performers". They were breeding stock in a puppy mill (2 boys and a girl). But they weren't producing enough puppies. So they were scheduled to die. Luckily for them, Hope Rescues in Alton, IL (a no-kill shelter. check them out at www.hoperescues.com) was contacted and they had room to save these 3 and a few more from the puppy mill. But how many thousands of these sweet faces die every year because no one contacted a rescue or there was no room? Or how about when a puppy mill is raided. Many people who flock to the humane organizations that take in the puppy mill dogs (because they want a pure bred dog at a discount price) don't realize that those organizations can only take in several hundred of the puppy mill dogs if they "clear out" their current stock of perfectly adoptable but mixed breed dogs. Those unlucky ones often have to be put down to make room. What's the answer to this tragic situation? I'm not an expert, but I think there are a few obvious steps everyone can take. 1. Consider adopting a dog from a shelter. Many shelter dogs are pure-bred and often the shelter will put you on a call list in case one comes in. 2. If you want to buy from a breeder, check them out first. Red flags include breeders that won't let you visit or insist on meeting you at a rest stop somewhere. Hmm, wonder what they are trying to hide? 3. Spay or neuter your pet. If money is a concern, many places offer low-cost spays and neuters. Just check with your vet or a local shelter.