Do we need any more evidence that pets are sold as a cash crop than the impressively disgusting practices on display in my hometown over the past few weeks?

Buy a puppy, get a sick little creature. That’s been the norm in South Florida for years. But it seems the local players are getting greedier than ever. How to turn a tidier profit? Set up shop just in time for the holidays.

You heard right. I’ve just seen my second, really sick puppy from a pet store no longer in business. It was operating just last week, but it’s not a going concern as of the new year. Getting ahold of the owners? Best of luck tracing the tracks of the greenbacks you gave to that shady puppy mill buyer.

The only one on the hook I know of is the veterinarian who wrote the OCVIs (Official Certificates for Veterinary Inspection). And he deserves all the grief I hope he gets for getting into bed with an outfit run by crooks willing to sell sick pups to unsuspecting newbies whose legal recourse is realistically nil.

Puppy lemon law? It's a good option for Florida residents, but once the business is no longer there? Good luck with that one, too.

It’s like I said: these dogs are widgets. Peddled on the side of the street or sold in makeshift shops like so many Christmas tree stands. It’s like flowers before Mother’s Day, firework setups before the Fourth of July or, more apropos, turkeys before Thanksgiving.

Let’s ramp up production in advance of the biggest holiday of the year. You want puppies? We’ve got puppies. All kinds. Want Persian cats? We got ‘em. Siamese and a few "new" breeds, too. We grow them up special ... just for you. We hawk them as healthy family members only to take our cheesy signs down and abscond at the end of our month-long lease. We’ll sell the rest of our wares through the local paper and breathe a sigh of relief that we don’t have to put up with all you sniveling pet owners complaining over a "silly case of the sniffles," or a pesky case of ringworm, mange, hip dysplasia or worse.

Ready for next year? I am. I’ll be on the lookout for any offenders.

Dr. Patty Khuly