Breeding dogs or cats isn’t a good idea unless you are a professional. Even the professionals need to improve their methods.

Thousands of homeless animals out there need good homes, and many breeders simply add to the problem. How does this happen? By selling their animals like cantaloupes instead of adopting them out like children.

Breeders should be sure the animal is going to a forever home by doing their homework and making sure the family buying the animal is willing to work with the animal and make a lifelong commitment to it. A responsible breeder would do this along with having their animals microchipped to be sure the animal will be returned to them in case it ends up in a shelter or research laboratory.

Tragically, many purebreds end up in municipal shelters. This is what happened with our newest rescue, Pepper. She was relinquished to the Independence Animal Shelter because the owners no longer wanted her.

Pepper is a 3- to 4-month-old female, purebred cocker spaniel. She is beautifully marked, and her black face is highlighted in white around her nose, as if she has stuck it in the snow. Her stomach and legs are white with black spots, while her back and hips are shiny black.

She is at the right age for training, and she has lots of energy and is very playful. Pepper would be a good pet for a family with pre-teenage children or older.

If you are serious about a commitment to a pet and think Pepper might be a good match for your family, please go to our Web site and complete an application. You may also obtain an application by writing to Animals Best Friends, P.O. Box 493, Independence, Mo. 64051.

The following animals are available for adoption at the Independence Animal Shelter. Visit the shelter at 875 Vista Drive or call 816-325-7207 for more information. If you have an animal control problem, call 325-7205.

• 6350325 male German shorthair, white/brown, 10 months.

• 6362946 male Catahoula, gray/black, 1 year.

• 5586362 female Labrador, chocolate, 2 years.

• 6264887 male Doberman mix, brown/white, 1 year.

• 6358395 male chow/shepherd mix, black/brown, 3 years.

• 6353631 male collie, brown/black, 2 years.

• 6392587 male Rottweiler mix, black/brown, 6 months.

• 6409167 male Labrador, black, 1 year.

• 6348070 male retriever, yellow, 3 years.

• 6399076 female Pharaoh hound, red, 1 year.

• 4155511 female Alaskan husky, black/tan, 1 year.

• 6420808 male dachshund mix, tri-color, 1 year.

• 6420891 female beagle mix, tri-color, 11 months.

• 6416713 male poodle, black, 7 months.

• 6387671 male retriever mix, black, 4 months.

• 6426643 male Chihuahua, tri-color, 4 months.

• 6427359 female terrier, white/tan, 10 months.

• 6421306 female Australian shepherd, tri-color, 2 months.

• 6427697 female dachshund, black/red, 11 months.

• 6400153 female retriever mix, brown/black, 1 1/2 months.

There are lots more dogs, puppies, cats and kittens available for adoption.