A dog rescue organization will soon ask dog lovers around the Valley to open their homes to 31 Chihuahuas taken from a Colorado dog breeder in late February.
Arizona Chihuahua Rescue, which is already sheltering about 200 dogs through volunteer foster families, said the dogs from Colorado won't be ready for new homes for at least another week.
"They're not socialized at all," said Barb Rabe, the president and co-founder of AZCR. "They don't know how to interact with other dogs."
The group also said there may be some pregnant females and dogs that need spaying and neutering before going to a new family.
According to news reports, more than 100 Chihuahuas were taken from a licensed Monte Vista, Colo., dog breeder by the Colorado Department of Agriculture after she told them she was going out of business and needed help.
Joyce Mercer, a volunteer who's fostering three of the dogs, said they're in good shape compared to other dogs the group has received from other large-scale breeders.
The group holds adoption events every weekend like the one at Cottonwood Country Club in Chandler's Sun Lakes community.
About 20 tiny, squeaky dogs roamed the room and in several playpens as prospective owners laughed and spoke to the animals in baby talk.
"Some of them are just cuddly love bugs and, especially when they're smaller, they go pretty fast," said Pat Bryant, another volunteer foster caretaker.
Eleanore Lenard - a Chandler woman who lives alone and lost her dog, Micky, when he died on Dec. 14 - was cradling a tan Chihuahua-mix named Martin.
The previous owner gave Martin to AZCR volunteers because he had too many dogs, said Jennifer Prentice, the dogs' fosterer.
Prentice said dogs that aren't socialized, like the Colorado dogs, are harder to place in homes.
"Some of them will bite out of fear," she said.
Lenard, who was hoping to take Martin home, said she doesn't buy animals from breeders or pet stores and prefers dogs from rescue organizations like AZCR.
"I think they (rescued dogs) need a lot more love," she said.