The following two letters were submitted to The News by Kelley Coyne, 5th grade teacher at Village School. The letters were written by students to the community about a world issue they each feel needs to be addressed.

Did you know “About 47 percent of households in the United States own at least one dog and about 46 percent own a cat, according to The Humane Society.

I believe that we should not be buying animals from chain pet stores, and that there should be stricter laws about puppy mills and the treatment of animals in New Jersey.

Did you know animals that are being sold at chain pet stores being abused where they are breed? Did you know that not all workers know the right information? Did you know once we stop buying from chain pet stores animals will not be bred in horrible, horrible conditions?

We should not be buying animals from chain pet stores. We should also have stricter laws about puppy mills and the treatment of animals in New Jersey.

The females that get bred at puppy mills never stop breeding and when they reach a point of physical depletion and can no longer reproduce, they will most likely get killed because they no longer have a use.

Also, many chain stores get their animals from breeders that have one or more Animal Welfare Act violations.

As I was interviewing my friend, Olivia, she mentioned her dog, Tommy.

Tommy was a surprise from Olivia’s parents. When her parents first got Tommy he was only 6 weeks old, which is my first red flag. The law is that a puppy or kitten must be at least 8 weeks old before being separated with its mother.

Also, Tommy was sick when they got him. Olivia and her parents brought Tommy to the vet many times but unfortunately he died a week after they got him.

Once we stop buying from pet stores (that get their animals from places like puppy mills), we won’t be giving our money to the breeders.

When buying anything from store that buys their animals from places like puppy mills, you are still giving you’re money to the pet store which will use that money to buy their animals. Many people think that if they don’t buy the animal the money won’t go to buying the animals but it will!

Though people think that getting the animals will save their lives, which it will, it will also cause even more animals having to suffer in the horrible conditions breeders keep and breed them in.

My last reason why I believe that we shouldn’t be buying our animals from chain pet stores is that many of the workers there don’t know the right information about the animals.

People getting an animal for the first time without doing any research only have the pet store employees to rely on. When I was getting a hamster, I needed to get an aquarium/cage for it so I went to a local store.

I knew that the smallest aquarium size I could get was a 20-gallon tank because I had researched it the day before. When I got to the store, my mom wanted to make sure that I was correct (which I was) so she asked one of the workers, and they said that the smallest cage size could be a 10-gallon tank.

Hamsters are very active creatures and having a 10-gallon tank is too small for the hamster to be happy in its cage. This experience showed me that workers at chain pet stores might not be properly trained to care for the animals there.

Did you know every year 2.7 million adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters? And while we buy cats and dogs from pet stores, there’s a dog or cat that needs a home.

We should adopt animals from shelters, because there are animals that are dying and need help at shelters. By getting animals from the shelter, you can help save their lives.

— Arianna Huang, West Windsor

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Why is there a plastic island in the middle of the ocean? Why are there so many landfills in America? Why is there so much pollution in parks and woods? Why do shellfish and other animals consume plastic?

The answer is trash. Trash goes to landfills, and landfills are just unsanitary piles of trash on our earth. But it’s possible to make landfills smaller or even get rid of them. We can try to make less trash easily and nothing will go to landfills to fill them up.

Yes, there is a patch of garbage in the Pacific Ocean that is now twice the size of Texas, or 600,000 square kilometers, says Fox news. That is kind of ridiculous. and that is one of the landfills our planet has.

It is mostly filled with plastic— bottles and caps for the most part. A great way to solve this problem is to use reusable water bottles instead of buying plastic ones. And yeah, you can recycle plastic bottles, but the crazy thing is that in West Windsor, they won’t recycle the bottle unless the cap is off of it. So to avoid that, just use reusable water bottles. Also, you can save some money.

The organization Zero Waste America says that there are 3,091 active and 10,000 old landfills in just the USA.

Instead of throwing out your old clothes, you can donate them or give them to someone as a hand me down. Or you can upcycle it by making it into something else. For example, a pair of jeans can be shorts, bracelets and more.

Animals are getting sick and dying because they are eating plastic and other trash that may be toxic.

The average American throws away more than seven pounds of garbage a day. That’s a lot. But we can reduce it. Here is a list of things you can do:

1. Donate clothes.
2. Reduce food waste.
3. Eat healthy.
4. Save Leftovers for the next day.
5. Buy things with less packaging.
6. Boycott plastic water bottles.
7. Don’t buy as much stuff. Really, it will help.
8. Recycle.

Those are some great ways you can help save the planet. If we don’t start to clean up our planet now, we will be living in a landfill soon. But if all of us try to avoid trash, slowly our planet will change—for the better.

— Katherine Dourbal, West Windsor