Animal shelters in San Francisco used to be overflowing with pit bulls. Now it’s chihuahuas.
Saturday, June 2, The Whole EnChichuahua Fesitival celebrates these small dogs from noon to 4pm in Dolores Park, San Francisco. Started as a means to encourage the parents of Chihuahuas to spay or neuter their pets – the festival is fun. How could it not be with food, a costume contest, and loads of cute dogs? Heck, even the new Pet Camp mascot will put in an appearance.
But has the festival actually stopped Chihuahuas from breeding like, well, rabbits? Not yet. San Francisco Animal Care and Contol is so overrun they’ve even flown chihuahuas to New York not just once, but twice, in search of a few good homes.
A few years ago, San Francisco Animal Care and Control’s shelter was full of pit bulls and pit bull mixes, more than they could successfully rehome. In 2005 California state law was changed to allow local governments to pass breed specific legislation (BSL). San Francisco was a driving force behind the change at the state level and quickly passed BSL that required all pit bull and pit bull mixes to be spayed or neutered unless their owner had a breeding permit.
San Francisco argued that this legislation was needed to address the high number of pit bulls at the city run shelter as well as the well publicized issue of pit bull attacks. The law became effective in January 2006. Six years later the BSL has largely been successful. The stories about pit bulls have largely disappeared from the San Francisco newspapers and the population at the shelter has changed dramatically.
Requiring breeders to get a permit worked for pit bulls. What do you think will work to stop the flood of homeless chihuahuas?
Thanks for reading.
Maybe more education about the special needs and personality of Chihuahuas would help. Perhaps more media coverage about the supply outnumbering demand so breeders (and potential breeders) realize they may be tough to find homes for.