With Disney’s new animated feature Beverly Hills Chihuahua slated for release on Oct 3, animal defenders like your good homies here at PETA are readying our disaster-prevention tactics. While it’s sure to be an adorable film, the fantasy world it portrays can have devastating unintended effects. Remember the live-action 101 Dalmatians movie and its sequel? Immediately after the films, there were enormous spikes in demand for spotted pups. In the months after the release of each film, the number of Dalmatians who were abandoned at animal shelters tripled throughout the country. They outnumbered every other breed in 1996. According to an animal-shelter official, someone would turn in a Dalmatian and tell the workers, “This dog didn’t act like Pongo in the movie.”
Apparently, watching professionally trained dogs perform adorable tricks gives some people the illusion that those breeds naturally behave that way—and then they can’t wait to take one home. Unrealistic expectations like this can create a dangerous trend. The impulsive purchases that ensue mean that the dirty backyard-breeding market booms. Ultimately, animal shelters overflow. Now can you see why we’re not so happy about this Chihuahua movie?
Disney has included a disclaimer on its Web site and at the end of the film about the lifelong responsibility of taking in an animal companion. Quite impressively, they even encourage people to adopt rather than purchase an animal. While this is sure to do some good, it isn’t enough. Not everyone will visit the site, and very few people will stay through the credits of a kids’ movie. There was time early on for Disney to put signs in movie theaters and speak out to urge people not to buy Chihuahuas—to let people know that if they do buy the cute little dogs, it means a death sentence for dogs in animal shelters.
Now, if you find yourself among the responsible animal guardians who simply must adopt a beautiful Chihuahua—or you have friends who’d like to—please visit petfinder.com to view a listing of the thousands of animals—including purebreds—who are sitting in your local animal shelters right now. You can search by breed in animal shelters across the nation—and help save quite a few lives in the process.
Written by Missy Lane