SAN ANTONIO -

Mark Koski is adopting his third dog from Animal Care Services this week. He has owned many cats and dogs, but recalls one in particular that bit his son.

"We (got) a dog from a friend of ours (who) got it from a pet store. (It) wasn't a good dog and that was a bad situation. We found out later, post attack, that it was an abused dog," Koski said.

He is like many who are a little wary of buying a dog from a pet store.

Koski said rescuing an animal is the right thing to do, and knowing it comes from a shelter gives him some peace of mind.

"The vast majority of pets that you adopt -- versus purchase -- have quite a bit of medical care already taken care of (or) already done," said Animal Care Services Live Release Manager Bethany Heins.

One of the benefits of adopting a pet from ACS is that before it's released, it will be vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and also comes microchipped.

"The likelihood of you getting a dog from a pet store, from an internet market or flea market, and having it be sick is much higher than if you are purchasing a pet from a responsible breeder or a shelter," said U.S. Humane Society spokeswoman Melanie Kahn.

Kahn advises against buying a puppy at a pet store.

"We know that responsible breeders do not sell their puppies to pet stores, at flea markets, or through online vendors," Kahn said.

Sara Logan, of Hollywood Puppies, explained pet stores are required to get their puppies through hobby breeders or USDA-licensed breeders.

"My boss, she hand-picks out the dogs and she will only get dogs from people who she has seen the facility and she knows what kind of condition they're in -- kenneling, outdoor, indoor and how many dogs they have," Logan said.

If you are buying through a breeder, Kahn notes it is important to meet the seller in person and to see where the puppy has been born and raised.

Kahn also said whether you're buying or adopting, it's a good idea to ask a lot of questions about your potential pet, related to health and personality.

Kahn said if you do ask to see papers, you should know they may not be worth more than the paper they're written on.

City-wide weekend adoption event

There is going to be a city-wide adoption event this weekend: Whiskers in Wonderland is Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.      

The four locations are:

  • San Antonio Pets Alive at 210 Tuleta

  • Animal Defense League at 11300 Nacogdoches,

  • San Antonio Humane Society at 4804 Fredericksburg Road

  • Animal Care Services at 4710 State Highway 151.

Dogs will sell for $40 and cats will sell for $15.

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