Eugene Weekly : Ask The Dogcatcher : 8.5.09


Alien Chihuahuas
LCAS’ Kylie B. answers all your critter questions
by kylie belachaikovsky

What’s up with all of these Chihuahuas being imported from California by local shelters? Won’t they just take homes away from local animals? What is LCAS’ take on that?

What’s up with Eugene hating on Californians, even the four-legged variety? I’ve heard a lot of people asking this pet importation question. A lot of private dog rescue organizations, as well as the local humane society, are importing small dogs of all different kinds, not just Chihuahuas. 

So, what’s the big idea? These are dogs that are facing certain euthanasia in crowded big city shelters, and they are the kinds of dogs that many local folks are hoping to adopt: small, cute, popular breeds like poodles, shih tzus, Yorkies and Chihuahuas. Believe it or not, big cities have more than they can handle and have to kill even little bitty dogs due to lack of space. LCAS totally supports any efforts that encourage people to opt to adopt, whether it is a Los Angeles refugee or a local pooch. 

I asked Liesl Wilhardt of local Luv-a-Bull rescue why she is bothering to bring adoptable dogs from LA while local shelters are full. Here’s what she said: “I feel comfortable bringing in dogs from LA because there are not enough of these small dogs in rescue locally to meet the demand from Oregonians who wish to adopt them. I get dozens of applications for each dog, and most of the adopting families tell me that they have been searching for months for a small dog to rescue. The majority of our rescued dogs are not adopted to Eugene residents anyway, but to people from all over the state and beyond!” 

So there ya go. Dogs are getting saved from certain death, people are getting the pint-sized dogs of their dreams, and your local shelters and private rescues are now the number one place to find a new pet, no matter how persnickety you may be about the size, age or breed of your future family member! Sounds like a win-win situation to me, and that’s why LCAS supports these rescue operations. 

Check out LCAS’ website to see local adoptable pets, and you can also see Luv-a-Bull’s adoptable cuties at

I’m moving. My new place doesn’t take pets. My dog is awesome. Why won’t LCAS adopt him out for me?

Wow, that is totally flattering that you think LCAS (or any shelter) could do a better job of finding a new home for your dog than you could. I mean, who better to adopt it out than total strangers, in a new and confusing environment that is nothing at all like the home he has always known? LCAS’ mission is to take in lost, stray and abandoned animals and reunite lost ones with their homes and find homes for the others. We’d prefer if current dog moms and dads were able to keep their pets! Getting an animal is a commitment for that animal’s whole life. 

But I’d be happy to offer you some friendly advice: 

First, is there a reason you cannot find housing that allows your pet? You can find a list of local pet-friendly rentals at Many landlords will at least consider your pet if you can provide references for its great behavior and up-to-date medical records.

The truth is, if your dog is really awesome, and you have been an awesome dog parent, you’re in luck because here are a whole lot of people looking for awesome dogs like yours. These great adopters will usually expect that their future pet be current on veterinary care (already vaccinated and spayed or neutered), housetrained and relatively well mannered. If this still sounds like your dog, go back to the website I recommended above and check out the section on how to rehome your pet. 

If your pup is lacking in any of those areas, then maybe you should think about whether you’re giving up your pet because you’re moving, or if maybe the issue is that you need to put some work into Fido so he becomes the kind of dog you’d never want to give up!

A lot of behaviors like barking, chewing and having too much energy can be fixed through training and the Eugene area has a lot of good trainers from Dog and Cat, LLC to PetsMart to Emerald Obedience, it all depends on what your dog needs. There is even superb free online advice available at  Rehoming a pet that has “issues” often results in him getting passed from home to home, so please try to get those problems resolved before taking her to a shelter or posting an ad.

Questions for the Dogcatcher can be emailed to Questions may be edited for length.