Pop culture blamed for California's Chihuahua crisis

LOS ANGELES (AP) - December 10, 2009

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Chihuahuas make up 30 percent -- or more -- of the dog populations at many California animal shelters. There's suspicion that fans took to the tiny breed to imitate Chihuahua-toting celebrities like Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus. People then apparently change their minds.

In Oakland, a shelter official says they can get 10 of the 5-pound dogs each day.

There are so many Chihuahuas at Oakland animal shelters, workers have started shipping them out of state. Meanwhile, shelters all over California built for big dogs are having to remodel to accommodate these little guys.

A New York ASPCA official says the problem appears to be specific to California. Shelters elsewhere would love to offer more of the smaller breed.

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