Rejected Animals Headed for Big Apple

By Lori Preuitt
|  Wednesday, Jan 6, 2010  |  Updated 7:27 AM PDT
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Won't Somebody Think of the Chihuahuas?

Getty Images

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 15: A Chihuahua waits adoption at a Los Angeles Department of Animal Services shelter on December 15, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Chihuahuas make up about a third of the dogs at many California shelters, so many that some shelters are shipping Chihuahuas to other states to find homes. A shelter in Oakland sent about 100 to Arizona, Oregon and Washington. Recently, a Los Angeles city shelter flew 25 Chihuahuas to Nashua, New Hampshire where all found homes within a day through the local Humane Society. Experts have blamed the glut of abandoned Chihuahuas in California on the influence of pop culture, a bad economy, puppy mills and backyard breeders. Fans sometimes abandon the dogs when they are no longer new and cute to them or when expensive vet bills start to add up. The tiny dogs are named for the Mexican state of Chihuahua. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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A group of rejected pooches is getting a ticket out of town Wednesday.

Virgin America is literally rolling out the red carpet for 15 Chihuahuas who cannot find a home here in the Bay Area. They are being flown to New York where dog lovers promise to be at the ready to adopt them.

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

Things are finally turning around for the once unlucky group. Virgin is letting the dogs fly in open seats inside the plane alongside Virgin volunteers. Who knows? They might even get a bag of nuts.

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 it looks like 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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