A Local Chihuahua Rescue Group Strives to Find Homes for Hundred - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

A Local Chihuahua Rescue Group Strives to Find Homes for Hundreds of Small Dogs

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Millions of dogs are euthanized every year in shelters because there are not enough places for them to go. Recently there's been a spike in the number of Chihuahuas found in shelters on the west coast. Now one local woman is trying to find homes for hundreds of dogs. 

PJ Wangsness runs the Chihuahua Rescue Truckee Meadows, Inc in Reno. She has been rescuing Chihuahuas from shelters for the past 20 years in Nevada, California and several other surrounding states. In just the past three years she's been able to find homes for 400 of these little dogs. PJ says Chihuahua and Chihuahua mix dogs are one of the most common breeds found in shelters. "I believe they are probably surpassing the pit bull right now because there is just such an overpopulation of them that we can't keep up with this many that are being listed on the euthanasia list,"said Wangsness.

Right now PJ has 30 dogs in foster care that need homes. All of those dogs where slated to be euthanized until PJ came into the picture. "For every probably five we save, there's probably 100 that are being euthanized," said Wangsness. PJ noticed the influx of Chihuahuas in shelters after popular movies and fast food stores featured the dog, "then they became a purse accessory. The smaller the better," said Wangsness.

The dogs are very small and seem very easy to take care of but that's not always the case. "Well they're still a dog you know. They still have to be potty trained, they still have to be trained to live in a household," said Wangsness.

The Nevada Humane Society says different breeds of dogs come in waves, so they get creative at marketing these pups whenever there's an influx. "We use holiday and various other creative methods to promote these Chihuahuas to get them out there. Get them adopted. We've done a Mardi Gras parade with a variety of dogs specifically featuring Chihuahuas," said Kimberly Chandler.

PJ is the person contacted to take Chihuahuas when shelters have no more room. She gets emails and calls from shelters throughout northern California, southern California and parts of Nevada. "On one particular email there could be 50 dogs, and they're all Chihuahuas," Wangsness.

It gets expensive with vet bills piling up. Chihuahua Rescue Truckee Meadows, Inc does fundraising throughout the year to help pay for the bills which sometimes end up costing thousands of dollars. Food would normally be very expensive for the rescue group but they have help from one local business that helps cover the costs. Scraps Dog Company in Reno has stepped and provides food for all of the Chihuahuas for the rescue group. The store owner, Naniece Bucci also runs her own French bulldog rescue organization.  

Animal experts with the Nevada Humane Society gave us advice to share on how to help prevent animals from flooding local shelters. "Ultimately spaying and neutering is key to preventing that overpopulation of animals," said Chandler. PJ also encourages people to check out local shelters if they are looking for a new pet instead of heading straight to a pet store or breeder. "There's so many in the shelters right now. We don't want to be making more of these puppies, we need to start saving some of them," said Wangsness.

Here's a list of a few adoption events happening this weekend:

The Nevada Humane Society is hosting its Doggie Palooza on Saturday February 22nd from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There will be training demos, a Hollywood trainer, crafts, gifts and other fun activities.

For more information go here: http://www.nevadahumanesociety.org/

Chihuahua Rescue Truckee Meadows is also hosting an adoption event this weekend at Petco. The adoption event will be on Sunday. PJ plans to bring 12 to 18 dogs who need a permanent home.

The group is also in need of foster homes in the Reno, Sparks and Carson City area. For more information click here: http://www.chirescuetruckeemeadows.com/

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