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Tag: chihuahuas

Dogs dumped on Los Angeles highway

Fifteen small terriers and Chihuahuas were dumped on Imperial Highway in El Segundo last week, but thanks to some helpful humans, many of them are doing fine.

As reported by the Daily Breeze in Torrance, Playa del Rey resident Kellie Sue Peters was on her way to the grocery store when a dog chasing a rabbit ran in front of her car on the busy highway.

When Peters stopped to try and snag the dog, on the highway near LAX, she noticed other dogs, including one that landed at her feet after it was hit by a car.

“I was horrified,” she said. “I just thought I’ve got to help him. … I’m not the type of person who can just walk away.”

The small white terrier mix nipped her hand when she knelt down to get a closer look.

The dog, who she now calls “Carson,” is recovering. Six others were rescued and are being held at the SPCA shelter in Hawthorne. A few more dogs were found the next day, but others were either killed or remain on the loose.

“They were unkempt,” El Segundo police Lt. Carlos Mendoza said. “They could have been strays, or somebody was hoarding dogs and decided to dump them.”

Two animal welfare organizations — including one run by actress Katherine Heigl — are offering a $5,000 reward for tips leading to the identification of the person who abandoned them.

“We are participating in the reward money being offered to find whoever did this despicable thing,” Heigl said in a statement. “People have to be held accountable for this kind of lack of humanity and compassion.”

Although Facebook comments allude to a white van being involved in the abandonment, authorities have yet to confirm that.

Read more »

Chihuahua brouhaha: Was movie idea stolen?

beverly-hills-chihuahuaA Houston-area kennel worker claims the movie “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” was, basically, his idea, and that the Walt Disney Company stole it from him.

Zenon Yracheta has sued the entertainment giant in federal court, saying the similarities between the movie and a story he wrote called “The 3 Chihuahuas” are many — and that he spoke with Disney officials about his idea in 2006.

Disney has asked a  federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the movie, which was released last year and grossed $130 million, bears little resemblance to Yracheta’s script, according to the Houston Chronicle.

While both stories feature hero dogs, villain dogs, talking dogs, traveling dogs and chase scenes, they have vastly different premises, Disney says.

In Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” a pampered California Chihuahua is taken by its owner’s niece to Mexico, gets lost, nearly winds up in a dog-fighting ring but escapes and is chased by a mean fight master, a sidekick and his nasty dog before finding her roots, romance, and her way back home.

In “The 3 Chihuahuas,” three Chihuahuas escape from their jobs as acrobats in a South Texas circus and head to Hollywood while pursued by their mean ringmaster, a sidekick and his nasty dog. As with the movie, the Chihuahuas have different ethnic personas. In the end they are rescued by a kind woman who turns out to be Beyoncé Knowles’ aunt. The three dogs eventually wind up living in a California mansion with the singer.

Yracheta said he was enraged when he saw the movie last year, jotting down the similarities between the film and his story.

Yracheta said he got the idea for “The 3 Chihuahuas” after three Chihuahuas ran in front of his car in a rural town near Houston. He worked up a three-page story, then commissioned a screenwriter to write the screenplay.

Disney denies the screenwriters saw or were told about his work.

Spotting trends in the AKC’s breed count

lg_havanese10In the process of tallying the numbers of purebred dogs in America — or at least those that are registered — the American Kennel Club detected some interesting trends, such as how the nation’s most popular dog, the Labrador retriever, is losing ground in some towns.

The fastest climbing breed, meanwhile, in terms of popularity, is the Havanese.

According to the AKC figures, more U.S. cities featured a breed other than the Labrador Retriever in the top spot this year than in 2008.

The German shepherd took over as No. 1 in Columbus, Detroit, Honolulu, Memphis, Miami, Providence and West Palm Beach.

The Yorkshire terrier bumped the Lab in Oakland, Tampa, New York City and Philadelphia.

And the bulldog became top dog in Los Angeles (despite other surveys that say Chihuahuas are the most predominant breed there). The AKC says celebrity bulldog owners — Adam Sandler, Kelly Osborne and John Legend among them — might be a reason behind the bulldog’s rise.

In what strikes me as a particularly odd tidbit, the bull terrier — 57th nationally — is the most popular breed in Newark, N.J. (Please feel free to explain that to me if you know the story behind it.)

To find out where your dog ranks nationally (keeping in mind the nation’s most popular dog isn’t a breed at all, but the mutt), click here.

There was only one city in America where the Labrador retriever didn’t factor into the Top 5 – Providence, R.I. In 2008, the Lab was No. 2 in Providence.

Over the past 10 years, the AKC says, the fastest growing breed nationally is the Havanese, having risen from 92nd to 32nd. Also rising quickly in national popularity have been the bulldog (from 21st to 7th); the French bulldog (from 73rd to 24th); and the Cavalier King Charles spaniel (from 58th to 25th).

Working K-9 breeds favored by law enforcement and the military have shown modest gains as pets over the same period, with the Belgian Malinois seeing its popularity rise from 95th to 81st, the border collie going from 71st to 52nd, the bloodhound rising from 51st to 43rd, and the Doberman pinscher climbing 23rd to 15th.

The AKC suspects easy-to-groom breeds are becoming more popular, as evidenced by the mastiff climbing from 39th to 27th and the Rhodesian ridgeback going from 56th to 48th. Higher maintenance breeds, meanwhile, such as the  Komondor, the Puli, the Irish terrier and the Sealyham terrier, have all seen their AKC popularity ranking drop in the past 10 years.

Even pre-Bo, the AKC, the Portuguese water dog was on the rise in popularity. The breed chosen by the First Family ranked 80th a decade ago and climbed to 60th in 2009.

(Photo: The Havanese, America’s fastest growing breed/Courtesy of AKC)

Chihuahua hoarder gets probation

The Michigan man charged with animal cruelty after authorities found hundreds of Chihuahuas in his home, live and dead, pleaded guilty in a plea agreement yesterday.

Kenneth Lang Jr. of Dearborn, will serve five years’ probation under supervision of a Wayne County mental health court.

Lang, 56, admitted in the plea that the animals in his home were subjected to abusive conditions because he was overwhelmed by their sheer numbers, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Lang will not be permitted to own any animals. He’s also required to make $3,000 restitution to the Animal Legal Defense Fund for the examination of the dead dogs, and restitution to the city of Dearborn.

Lang’s lawyer, James Schmier, said Lang has an IQ of about 70 and suffers from several psychiatric conditions. “He’s a very human guy with a very human story, and with very human frailties,” the lawyer said.

Lang was found living in squalid conditions with more than 100 live Chihuahuas and more than 100 dead ones found frozen in freezers. The prosecutors said of the 105 that were rescued, all but 13 have been successfully adopted. Those are living in a no-kill shelter.

Chihuahuas fly to where the odds are better

Virgin America flew 15 Chihuahuas from San Francisco to New York this week in an effort to aid the overcrowded population of Chihuahuas in California.

West Coast shelters, overwhelmed with Chihuahuas, have been looking for help from shelters on the East Coast, where there is a demand for the dogs.

Escorted by a veterinarian, the dogs were to arrive at JFK and be picked up by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which will help them find homes on the East Coast.

Virgin America’s Facebook page documented the flight, with videos and photos posted while in the air.

Chihuahuas driving up shelter population

image001It’s not just Los Angeles, and not just California whose shelters are awash in Chihuahuas.

Phoenix is, too. Maricopa County Animal Care and Control shelters received 821 Chihuahuas in the last two months, according to the Associated Press.

 That’s 230 more than during the same period last year.

As of yesterday, there were 84 Chihuahuas awaiting adoption.

The shelter is offering a special deal this weekend with a Chihuahua adoption fee of only $36.

The Chihuahua glut goes beyond L.A.

beverly_hills_chihuahuaChihuahuas are becoming the most common dog in California’s animal shelters, replacing the pit bull as the breed most often forsaken by owners.

The “101 Dalmatians” effect that many predicted the movie “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” would lead to seems to have come to pass, exacerbated further by the Paris Hilton effect and, maybe even moreso, the yukky economy effect.

About a third of the dogs in San Francisco’s animal shelter are Chihuahuas or Chihuahua mixes, Kat Brown, deputy director of City and County of San Francisco Animal Care & Control, told Robert Siegel on NPR’s “All Things Considered” Wednesday.

About 60 percent of the Chihuahuas coming into the shelter are owner-surrendered, she said.

“I think it’s because a number of things. Some movies featured Chihuahuas. Also, a pocket pet kind of thing, from some of the movie stars, Paris Hilton. Also, the economy. I think we’re seeing more owner-surrendered animals generally across the board,” she said.

“But Chihuahuas unlike other dogs are more difficult to handle sometimes. People think of them as something, they’re like stuffed animals or whatever. But in fact they’re like a little dog, and they need all of the things that a big dog needs.”

Brown said the phenomenon seems to be California-wide:

“We have shelters from the Bay Area who also have the same sort of problem. Oakland, Contra Costa, Peninsula Humane Society. Silicon Valley. San Jose. LASPCA (in Los Angeles) said to us we don’t have time to count, there are so many of them.”

You can listen to the interview here.

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