"We get a lot at our shelters. It's hard to tell, but it might be in the top five," said Marcia Mayeda, director of Los Angeles County's Department of Animal Care and Control, which runs six shelters across the county. Mayeda estimates her department -- which has 40 canvassers -- licenses about 60% of the dogs in the unincorporated areas of the county plus other areas that contract for services. Currently it has about 254,000 dogs licensed.
"We get an awful lot of Chihuahuas," said Ed Boks, general manager of the city's Department of Animal Services. "The big concern is that Disney is coming out with a movie called 'Beverly Hills Chihuahua' . . . . It will just encourage the breeding of Chihuahuas when we've already got too many out there."
However, Boks reports that the Chihuahua is second on the list of most-adopted dog breeds in the city's six shelters; the pit bull is first.
Boks says the city holds 120,000 dog licenses out of a dog population that, by some estimates, could be as high as 900,000. Boks said a contributing factor to the low rate of licensing was the shortage of canvassers (he has only seven) to catch scofflaws. Boks also said his department was working on a better calculation for the dog population, which he believes is below 900,000.