Photographed by Ben Ritter.
When the late, venerable Mitch Hedberg joked about swapping out the unwelcome bug problem in NYC for a more endearing koala bear infestation, he probably sounded ridiculous. But, a new trend coming from California has us thinking his outlandish suggestion may soon become a reality. Due to an overpopulation problem in California, New York will now receive shipments of chihuahuas, the first of which came earlier this month through Virgin America's Operation Chihuahua Airlift. Yes, this is the best news ever, but it's rooted in some rather sad truths.
Apparently, chihuahuas are second only to pit bulls in dog breeds that are abandoned or surrendered to the Animal Care & Control rescue group in NYC. Linda Vetrano of the Upper East Side's Posh Pets Rescue told the NY Post, “There’s always been loads of chihuahuas coming in. People want a little four-pound Chihuahua thinking it’s going to be so cute. Then they’re not too happy and dump it in the shelter.” We're not sure what makes a person simply abandon an animal, but it happens — so often, in fact, that between 2010 and 2012, more than 800 of the little pooches were left at AC&C shelters in NYC.
Despite the chihuahua abandonment rate, New Yorkers keep the breed in high demand (something about tiny apartments). Plus, who are we to turn away a plane full of doggies? The Statue of Liberty's offering of "Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: lift my lamp beside the golden door" applies to canines, too. As Hedberg said, "It's the cutest infestation, ever." (NY Post)