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The dogs came on two flights from San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon and were brought to a shelter on the Upper East Side. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will have the dogs ready for adoption on Jan. 13.
Passengers at San Fran International on a morning Virgin America flight were greeted at the gate by the little Chihuahuas waiting to board. Not in the cargo hold, but in the main cabin itself. Perhaps that’s why there was free champagne before the flight.
One man said he preferred yapping dogs to crying babies.
About 30 percent of California shelter dogs are Chihuahuas. They've become popular due to such movies as "Beverly Hills Chihuahua.'' But ASPCA Vice President Gail Buchwald said "irresponsible breeding" was the probable cause. But she said the East Coast has long had a shortage of small dogs.
"They're portable, and people like portability in the city," Buchwald said. "We never have enough supply for the huge consumer demand for small dogs."
Aside from easily fitting in a carrier for a subway ride, their small size is ideal for living in the city’s compact apartments. Chihuahuas have also been sent to other states.
The ASPCA said more dogs will be flown in if "Operation Chihuahua Airlift'' proves successful.
Its adoption hotline is 212-876-7700, ext. 3210.