Dallas Ruiz is a local animal welfare advocate with 16 years of experience in animal rescue.

Driving to work in Kern County each morning, I often witness dogs wandering, scavenging for food, and dodging traffic to survive. Dead animals on the roadside only add to my sorrow. These pets are the forgotten victims of their owners' irresponsible actions.

To add to the problem, backyard breeders continue to sell puppies in shopping center parking lots with no background checks or screening of potential owners. Puppies require a lot of care, attention, vaccinations and training; only some are prepared to provide that. I want to believe they will find loving homes, but I cannot help worrying that many will end up in shelters or abandoned on the streets. What’s worse is that many people purchasing these puppies will not spay or neuter their new pet, leading to even more unwanted litters and perpetuating the cycle of animal homelessness and overpopulation.