Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:18 PM
question everything (30,411 posts)
Chihuahua Airlift to East Coast
(Cross posting from GD)
For a group of previously unloved dogs, Christmas came early this year. On Wednesday, 15 Chihuahuas that had been languishing in Los Angeles animal shelters landed in Washington, D.C., en route to Virginia, where they were expected to be snapped up by pet lovers. The airlift was organized by Marge Fithian, a Philadelphia real-estate agent, who spends much of her free time putting together flights for homeless Chihuahuas from Southern California to states short on the small dogs, including Maine, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Shelters in Arizona and Nevada are also overloaded with the diminutive breed.
Alert and intelligent, Chihuahuas typically weigh less than six pounds, have big eyes and ears and project "terrier-like" attitudes of self-importance and confidence, according to the American Kennel Club. The dogs are believed to have originated in Mexico, and the proximity to the border also accounts for their prevalence in many largely Hispanic communities.
Southern California shelter officials attribute a soaring Chihuahua population to non-neutered and non-spayed dogs in low-income communities. More Chihuahuas and other pets have landed in shelters as foreclosures ballooned. Meanwhile, budget cuts have made it tougher to staff shelters.
The airlifted dogs won't have to wait long to be adopted, said Kari Vincent, canine services manager at the Norfolk (Va.) SPCA. Her shelter has 45 dogs. There are 15 pit bulls, including one that has lived at the shelter for a year, but not a single Chihuahua. "We almost always have room for small dogs," which are also prized for their portability by the area's transient military population, she said. "They're silly, happy dogs," she said. "They're all going to find great homes."
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Chihuahua Airlift to East Coast (Original post)
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