In an article which opens with an attempt at humour, an online news portal reports on an alarming trend: apparently, an Arizona neighbourhood is being plagued by an unusually large number of feral chihuahuas.
According to an online report, the Phoenix, Arizona neighbourhood of Maryvale is being “terrorized by a ruthless gang of Chihuahuas.” In an effort to add levity to the article, the report says, Swarming feral packs of the usually adorable miniature mutts are no joke — although if they all had tiny sombreros on or, like, little jean jackets, then it probably would be.
Even the public finds humour in the situation, with one commenter stating, It's gotten to the point where you can't walk down the street without crushing these little balls of malice under your feet. The real danger is squished chihuahua is slippery and if you fall, they will devour you before help can arrive.
But the reality of stray and feral animals with domestic origins, especially at this magnitude, is no laughing matter. Instead, it highlights the greater issue of responsible pet ownership — or, more accurately, the lack thereof.
According to a report by ABC News, as many as 6,000 calls were received by animal control last year concerning stray chihuahuas. While shelter officials cannot say for certain what is causing the influx, one report claims that Officials in California attribute the rise to [celebrities] like Paris Hilton, who popularized the use of the dogs as fashion accessories. After people adopted the dogs and realized taking care of them requires a little more responsibility than taking care of a purse, they would often give them up.
Corroborating this speculation, The Daily Mail reported in a 2011 article that ‘fashion accessory’ dogs are being dumped at shelters in record numbers. It stated that the Blue Cross claims owners are abandoning these dogs after they develop behavioural problems from being overly pampered and carried in handbags.
This latest report about Maryvale’s chihuahua infestation serves to remind the public of the need for responsible pet ownership. It’s a topic which animal rescue and other related organizations strive to promote every day.
On its website, the American Kennel Club reminds potential and current pet owners that Owning a dog is not just a privilege — it's a responsibility. These animals depend on us for, at minimum, food and shelter, and deserve much more. If you are considering taking a dog into your life, you need to think seriously about the commitment that dog ownership entails.
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control is dealing with the issue in Phoenix, Arizona as best it can. Officials are urging citizens to make arrests of the dogs whenever safe, but warn residents not to be heroes, as the transfer of bite-related pathogens like rabies is a very real threat.