Last Thursday night was the premier for the soon to be released Disney movie, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”, and also with the stars, out came the protesters.
About 20 people from Last Chance for Animals showed up with signs. They were not protesting the movie, what they were protesting was what is most often a result whenever a dog movie or show is released or becomes popular.
People see these dogs on the big screen or on their TV and think about how cute they are and then you have hundreds of people rushing out to get one, whether is be Jack Russell Terriers which were popularized but the TV show “Frasier” or dalmations which “”101 Dalmations” sent people scurrying out buy, or chihuahuas that everyone fell in love wiht because of the Taco Bell commercial.
“We know the movie is cute,” says Kim Sill, who runs the campaign against puppy mills for Last Chance for Animals, the group that organized the protest. “We don’t want to say we’re against the movie. We’re against people going to a pet store after they see the movie. We want them to go to a shelter, because there are a lot of Chihuahuas there.”
You certainly can’t fault the message here. Too many of these impulse purchase dogs get quickly dumped when people find out they’re not the sweet or cute little dog like in the movie or TV show. I remember hearing about shelters being overrun with Jack Russell terriers because of “Frasier”. These dogs have a tendency to be very high energy and can be quite a handful if they are not properly trained and most especially well exercised.
Animal welfare advocates have been concerned for weeks about the impact of the Disney movie — which opens Oct. 3 — on Chihuahuas.
And when a movie is about to open, puppy mills, she contends, gear up to produce more of that breed to supply pet stores. (Many animal welfare organizations, including the Humane Society of the U.S., contend that most pet stores get their dogs from puppy mills.) “It used to be you would walk into pet stores and see maltipoos and Yorkies. All of a sudden in the last two months, we’ve seen Chihuahuas infiltrate the pet shops,” Sill says.
Los Angeles is already awash in Chihuahuas. There are more Chihuahuas among registered dogs in Los Angeles County than any other breed… And Sill says the shelters already have a high number of Chihuahuas. Some of the ones at the Carson shelter, run by the Los Angeles County shelter system , are featured in the video that Last Chance for Animals made to drive home its point about not buying Chihuahuas. (LA Times)
Ed Boks, general manager of LA Animal Services, saw the movie Thursday night. “I was a bit disappointed,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The movie has a strong ‘adopt’ and ‘rescue’ message, but no ‘spay/neuter’ message. In fact, one female dog opined that she longed for a boyfriend who has NOT been ‘fixed.’…Disney just does not seem to share our concern over the influence this movie could have on people who will now think of Chihuahuas as cash cows.”
Sadly, I have to agree, when the movie comes out, the demand for these feisty little dogs is going to be higher than ever. Unconscionable breeders and puppy millers are going to take advantage and be raking in the bucks, greed in high gear!
So what can be done?
Same thing as always… help to get the word out! Yes, chihuahuas can make wonderful pets but they’re not the little pocket dogs so many people try to make them be. They are huge dogs in tiny bodies and there are many, many already waiting for homes in shelters and rescues all over the country. Adding a dog or puppy to your family is not an impulse to be done on a whim, it come with a lifetime of responsibility.
Don’t get carried away by well trained and cute ‘movie’ dogs. You will never have one of those. If you really want a dog, take the time to research what breed is best for you then go to the shelters and rescues and adopt. Save a life!! Stay out of the pet stores and off the internet!