Bay Area Animal Control Blames It on Paris

Many breeders switched from pit bull to Chihuahuas in recent years

By Lori Preuitt
|  Wednesday, Dec 9, 2009  |  Updated 1:00 PM PDT
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Baby Hasani Makes Public Debut

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Paris Hilton and her dog Marilyn dressed as Dorothy and Todo from Wizard of Oz.

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Here's something else to blame on Paris Hilton:  Too many Chihuahuas.

Bay Area animal control officers call it the "Paris Hilton Syndrome." They say the popularity of "pocket" dogs like the 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.

The San Francisco rescue group Grateful Dogs has 66 foster animals right now, and 31 of them are Chihuahuas. 

Right now one-third of the dogs housed at Animal Care and Control in the City are Chihuahuas or Chihuahua mixes.

Bay Area officials say the problem is quickly getting out of control and are spreading the news that their holiday wish is find placement for the purse-sized pups.

Adoptions are performed daily at their Harrison Street office between noon and 6 p.m.

Lori Preuitt's wonders if others say "chi hoo-ah-hoo-ah" out loud every time they spell out that particular dog name.

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