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Thursday, April 9, 2009

San Francisco Animal Control Reeling From 'Paris Hilton Syndrome'

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 12:01 AM

A nervous little guy peers out from his pen - JOE ESKENAZI
  • Joe Eskenazi
  • A nervous little guy peers out from his pen
Sonny the chihuahua clicks around the linoleum floors on his dime-sized paws, casts your humble narrator a glance askance out of his googly left eye, and raises his tiny nuzzle skyward to release a minute, trilling bark. He is soon joined in multi-part harmony by a platoon of fellow chihuahuas in a high-pitched yodel.

Deb Campbell glances around the room. There are six chihuahuas in this one chamber alone, and many more downstairs. San Francisco's Animal Care and Control -- that's whose linoleum floors these are -- is getting one or two chihuahuas tearfully delivered to its doors every day. There are enough teacup dogs tottering around the ACC offices to fit in the pockets of every member of the Board of Supervisors and then some.

"We call it the 'Paris Hilton Syndrome,'" says Campbell, the center's volunteer outreach coordinator, with a sigh. A bad economy has induced a spike in the number of creatures surrendered to ACC. Add that to chihuahuas becoming a trendy fashion accessory thanks to Hilton, Legally Blonde, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua and suddenly you've got sufficient toy dogs on hand to start your own miniature Iditarod team.

  • Joe Eskenazi
Sonny (above) is one of the lucky ones. After languishing at Animal

Control for an inconceivably long time -- the little guy has a big

personality, is well-socialized, and, as you can see, plenty cute -- he

was adopted by one of the workers on site, Christine Scanlon. This is

the part of the story where we, um, urge you to consider doing the same.


wait -- there's more! Large numbers of bunnies often flood the Animal

Control office after Easter, but, oddly enough, a contingent of them

arrived before the holiday this year (that's Fergie, a truly massive

albino rabbit):

  • Joe Eskenazi
And, while we're at it, there are always King

Pigeons -- which are often bought at live poultry markets by

well-meaning folks and released. These chicken-sized pigeons are

domesticated creatures, though, so they don't know the first thing

about survival in the wild.

  • Joe Eskenazi
 This one above actually came closer

to your humble narrator when yours truly approached the cage, and seemed to be a

fun pigeon. So, you know -- think about it.

  • Joe Eskenazi

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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