Dogs line each cage. Some have eager eyes begging to be brought home while others jump against the kennel door seeking attention. Some bark, others sleep. Big and small, all of them are ready for homes.
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control is offering reduced adoption fees of $51 for Chihuahuas and other small dogs until Thursday, June 30. Regular adoption fees can range from $85 to $150. The shelter has recently seen an upswing in the number of Chihuahuas.
Many people have taken advantage of the reduced fee, and about 100 small dogs have been adopted since Monday, said April Hollis, a spokeswoman for MCACC. Twenty dogs were adopted from the West Valley shelter on Monday alone.
The reduced price is incentive for Beata Bogdan of Fountain Hills, Ariz., who visited the Mesa shelter Friday.
“My Chihuahua could use a friend,” said Bogdan.
Bogdan had been considering adopting another dog for awhile, but with the reduced fees, it seemed like the right time.
The Fourth of July is the busiest time of the year at the shelter, said Hollis. Many dogs run away when they become frightened by fireworks. With the holiday weekend near and a large number of dogs already at the shelter, MCACC is hopeful that many dogs will be adopted to make room for the anticipated number of dogs that will have to be held.
Lately, the shelter has been receiving about 125 to 150 animals a day.
The Arizona Humane Society has also seen an increase in animals, said Bretta Nelson, a spokeswoman for the shelter. Intake has increased by 20 percent from this time last year, and Maricopa County’s large pet overpopulation is second only to Los Angeles County, Calif., she said.
Hollis estimates a quarter of the animals that have recently entered the MCACC shelter are Chihuahuas. It remains to be determined why Maricopa County has so many Chihuahuas.
“I wish we knew,” Hollis laughed. “That’s what we’ve all been asking.”
But what they do know is that Chihuahuas are small dogs with a big, brave personality.
“They’re great with a family with a lot of time — they love being with people,” Hollis said. “They like short walks and are fairly active, but they also love to curl up on your lap.”
Families with very small children may not be ideal for Chihuahuas because of the dog’s delicate bone structure.
Small dogs can be adopted for $51 from either MCACC location at 2630 West 8th Street in Mesa or 2500 South 27th Avenue in Phoenix. Adoptable dogs can be viewed online at www.maricopa.gov/pets.
The adoption fee includes spay or neuter surgery, a 4-in-1 vaccination and a rabies vaccination.
Both MCACC and the Arizona Humane Society urge pet owners to spay and neuter their pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets in the Valley.
The Arizona Humane Society offers a 50 percent off coupon (valid through July 31) for spay and neuter surgery at www.azhumane.org/spayneutercoupon.