With California facing a glut of abandoned Chihuahuas, advocates have begun airlifting the diminutive, goggle-eyed orphans to adoptive owners on the East Coast. This Wednesday 15 Chihuahuas were flown from San Francisco to New York, courtesy of Virgin America. Some animal control officers call the abandonment epidemic "Paris Hilton syndrome," noting that the breed's popularity skyrocketed when trendy Californians began emulating the hotel heiress' pet choice, then plummeted as new owners realized that dogs are not purses. Should Easterners help bail California out of its Chihuahua crisis? (Watch an AP report about the Chihuahua rescue)
Celebrities got Chihuahuas into this mess. They can get them out: Yes, Paris Hilton and movies such as "Legally Blonde" helped turned Chihuahuas into a pop culture icon, says Ann Brenoff in Wallet Pop, and that's why the state's shelters are now overrun with the dogs, which are cute but often hard to handle. But what celebrities break celebrities can fix—actress Katherine Heigl coughed up $25,000 to get the airlift started by sending two groups of Chihuahuas to New Hampshire, where volunteers quickly adopted them all last month.
"California's latest export: Unwanted Chihuahuas"
The airlift won't solve everything: Sorry, but shipping out a few dozen Chihuahuas won't "cure" the problem, says Erin Sherbert in the San Francisco Examiner. The "red-carpet sendoff" for the New York City–bound dogs was encouraging, but there are still plenty of Chihuahuas left behind. And more are being dumped at California shelters all the time.
"S.F. Chihuahuas finally take off for NYC"
Plenty of welcoming homes await: There's no such thing as an unwanted Chihuahua, says Lisa Germinsky in Tonic. But there are evidently quite a few in need of transportation. So with celebrities, shelters, and airlines, such as Virgin and American, joining forces, it should be possible to get all of California's shelter-dwelling Chihuahuas to parts of the country where "dog lovers anxiously await with open arms."
"Chihuahuas fly for free on Virgin America"
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