The puppies and kittens in your local pet store are pretty cute. But knowing where the adorable animals come from can be heartbreaking.

Many animals sold in pet stores come from "puppy mills," large-scale commercial breeding operations that put profit over animal welfare, resulting in unsanitary conditions, cramped cages, and inhumane practices.

A dog rescued from a puppy mill by the South Carolina National Guard. Photo by Maj. Cindi King, U.S. Army National Guard/Wikimedia Commons.

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There are up to 10,000 puppy mills across the U.S.

That's more than enough to keep an animal lover awake at night.

Have you heard about these places? They're overcrowded and operate largely under the radar. Careless breeding practices means generations of dogs with health defects are born into unsanitary conditions, and female dogs are overbred and often killed once they are no longer of use, according to the ASPCA.

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