Fly Chihuahua!

High-altitude attitude

By Lori Preuitt and Bob Redell
|  Wednesday, Jan 6, 2010  |  Updated 3:08 PM PDT
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Fly Chihuahua!

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"Ay Chihuahua" was a common thought for passengers at SFO this morning after they realized a bunch of little yapping dogs were boarding with them on their non-stop flight to JFK.

The passengers on a morning Virgin America flight were greeted at the gate by 15 little Chihuahuas waiting to board the same cross country flights.  Not in the cargo hold, but in the main cabin itself.  Perhaps that’s why there was free champagne before the flight. 

One man said he prefered yapping dogs to crying babies.

Virgin is flying the dogs to the Big Apple because the Bay Area has a surplus.

Right now in the Bay Area, Chihuahuas are rescued more often than pitbulls.  Not so in New York.  They can’t get enough of the little pups.  The demand is so high, there’s actually a waiting list.  So the group of rejected pooches got a one way ticket out of town.

Virgin America literally rolled out the red carpet for dogs.

This is not the first out of state rescue mission, which is a sad fact for a region that prides itself on being so dog-friendly.

Bay Area animal control officers call the overpopulation problem "Paris Hilton Syndrome." They say the popularity of "pocket" dogs, like Chihuahuas, has grown because people see celebs like Hilton carrying them around in adorable little pink handbags.

In response, a lot of breeders have switched to smaller dogs. But the breeders have gotten ahead of the popularity wave, because Chihuahuas are now flooding Bay Area shelters.

In December, the San Francisco rescue group Grateful Dogs had 66 foster animals and 31 of them were Chihuahuas.

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