Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Humane Society of Indianapolis / Animal Welfare / Philanthropy

Overrun with Chihuahuas

December 10, 2009

Thanks to their popularity and sometimes-difficult personalities, Chihuahuas are being dumped in animal shelters in the San Francisco area in huge numbers. The diminutive breed comprises more than half of the dogs in some Bay Area shelters, according to a Los Angeles Times story.

Gidget of Taco Bell fame along with Paris Hilton’s Tinkerbell and other celebrity Chihuahuas brought an explosion of breeding and ultimately a glut, particularly in fashion-conscious cities. Now people are unloading them because their nervous, fragile personas aren’t easy to suffer.

Some of the dogs are being flown to shelters elsewhere in the country that have none—and want them.

That hasn’t happened in Indianapolis, says Tristan Schmid, spokesman for the Humane Society of Indianapolis. And he isn’t aware of plans to bring them here.

Not that some of them wouldn’t be wanted. The Humane Society has adopted out 70 Chihuahuas or Chihuahua-mixes this year.

People are abandoning large dogs after selling houses and moving into apartments. Small dogs don’t raise concerns of apartment managers like big ones do.

Still, Schmid cautions, while there’s demand for Chihuahuas, it isn’t overwhelming.

The practical streak in many Indianapolis people is skeptical of purebred genetic problems, Schmid says. And like other Midwesterners, many Indianapolis people like mixed breeds, he says, possibly a lingering characteristic of the region’s rural heritage.

“People don’t look down on mixed breeds like they do in other metropolitan areas,” Schmid says.

What has been your experience with Chihuahuas? Should the local humane society take some of the dogs from the Bay Area?

Thoughts about purebred vs. mixed-breed?


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