Denver Dog Lovers Refuse to Give Up on SoCal Chihuahuas

100 SoCal Chihuahuas are given a second chance at life thanks to the generosity of animal lovers in Colorado.

By Olsen Ebright and Lori Preuitt
|  Wednesday, Dec 30, 2009  |  Updated 9:49 AM CDT
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A batch of Chihuahuas arrives safely in Colorado.

A batch of Chihuahuas arrives safely in Colorado.

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Southern California went a little bit overboard with its Chihuahuas obsession, and they're hoping folks in Denver will come to the rescue.

Shelters across Los Angeles are overstocked with the breed due to what critics call the "Paris Hilton Syndrome." The popularity of "pocket" dogs like the Chihuahua has skyrocketed in the past decade, perhaps in part because people see celebs like Hilton carrying them around in adorable little pink handbags.

Apparently breeders over-supplied Southern California's demand, which led to too many of the miniature pets.

But thanks to dermatologist Leslie Capin and the Denver Dumb Friends League, -- a century-old organization organization dedicated to giving man's mute best friends a voice -- a rescue flight out of California was on the way.

Back in November, Capin's Chihuahua was dubbed the cutest dog in America. Capin donated the $1 million prize to two Denver-area shelters, USA Today reported:

When Capin learned -- at 2:15 a.m. Thanksgiving Day -- that her dog had won, meaning each shelter would get a $16,500 windfall every year for three decades, she "cried for almost an hour." By 3 a.m., she was calling friends to invite them to a pre-dawn Champagne celebration: "I'm still pinching myself."

And now she's reaching into her own pocket to cover airfare so 100 Chihuahuas can fly to Colorado for adoption.

"Chihuahuas in California are 30 percent of the shelters and they're exploding and they're all being put down because they have no homes," Capin told KCNC-TV. "It was tough especially since I have a Chihuahua."

On Saturday, the first batch of 32 Chihuahua refugees arrived in Broomfield, Colo., delivered by Pet Airways, the Denver Post reported.

The adoption agency is now working to find new homes for the dogs. As of Tuesday, 15 of the 32 dogs have been adopted, said Kristina Vourax of the Dumb Friends League.

"But we won't stop there. We will work with other animal shelters in California and coordinate additional flights to help more Chihuahuas that are in need of homes," said Robert Rohde, President and CEO of the Dumb Friends League.

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