Handbag dogs are being dumped
Published 03/10/2011 | 09:24
Women who bought small dogs as "fashion accessories" are now dumping them in record numbers.
An animal rescue charity has seen the number of bichon frises, chihuahuas and shih tzus left at its centres almost triple in the past year.
The Blue Cross says owners abandoned the pooches when they developed behavioral problems from being overly pampered and carried in handbags.
The small dogs were made popular by celebrities such as Hilton, who owns chihuahua Tinkerbelle, and Coleen Rooney, who owns bichon frise Daisy.
But The Blue Cross has been left to rehome hundreds of the small pets after the public got bored of them or struggled to cope.
In many cases the pooches have been so pampered they refuse to walk and have to be carried everywhere in a bag.
Some even growl if they see other dogs being given any affection because they are used to being the centre of attention.
Lara Alford, manager of The Blue Cross centre in Southampton, said: "We have seen many 'handbag-style' dogs coming into the centres lately.
"Some people bought them as fashion accessories after celebrities like Paris Hilton made them trendy.
"Although people think they look great when they see someone famous with one, they often don't realise what a responsibility they are taking on.
"People think these little dogs do not need the same amount of exercise and attention as bigger ones but this is not the case.
"If they are mollycoddled and do not get the stimulation they need, it can result in behavioural problems.
"We recently had a pair of pomeranians named Britney and Diesel come into the centre because their owner was no longer able to look after them.
"Britney was so used to being carried, she refused to walk and was terrified of the lead.
"We found out she had never been for walks and was just used to being cuddled and fussed over.
"We tried everything we could to make her walk on her own but she just lay on the floor and played dead. Her new owner had to carry her home."
The stylish dogs cost around 1,000 pounds to buy, plus vets bills, grooming and food.