Sterling Heights — Dozens of rescued chihuahuas from Texas made a 20-hour journey Saturday before finding new homes in Michigan. 

About 25 dogs arrived from Houston on their way to foster homes, where they will be nurtured back to health and adopted. Rescuers say they come from over-breeding, backyard breeding and abuse situations.

Chihuahua Rescue & Transport, a nonprofit foster-based rescue group, is leading the effort and collaborated with several Texas rescues to orchestrate a massive pull of dogs. This week, 76 dogs were rescued, and in a bid to rehome the tiny pups, they were brought to Michigan in two missions.

Director Melissa Dodge says their goal is to make this a quarterly effort.

"There are more that we’re not taking because we don’t have room," Dodge said. "There’s not that many chihuahuas here, whereas down there they get dumped in boxes."

Dodge said because the shelters are so overwhelmed in Texas, they organized the haul within two weeks.

"Peewee’s Pet Adoption in Corpus Christi has 250 chihuahuas at one time. That's insane, and it's because the mating season has already begun," she said. "It will continue to be a problem as the season warms up. We're trying to relieve shelters like them so they can take in new dogs."

Dodge said they are taking three pregnant moms and three litters of puppies. It cost about $100 to transport each dog. Dodge said people can sponsor a dog online, which gives them naming rights for the sponsored dog.  

"People can help by volunteering, fostering, funding and help to transport," she said. "Chihuahuas are a misunderstood breed. People think they’re ankle bitters, but they’re actually the most affectionate and so loyal to their owners."

The dogs will be headed to:

Cindy Tewes, director of Midwest Small Breed Rescue, said she is excited to take in seven dogs.

Tewes says she previously participated in a large haul of dogs on Valentine's Day, when Michigan Humane Society partnered with local and out-of-state agencies to rescue 93 dogs. When the Chihuahua Rescue & Transport team reached out, she said she had to volunteer.

"As a foster home, we fully vet our applicants and get the dogs spayed, neutered and back to health," Tewes said. "We know we are getting one with a leg issue, but other than that all we have to do is put them up for adoption so they can find their loving permanent home."

Tewes, who has been fostering for 20 years, said she the effort can grow to help dogs from around the country.

"They live in our home as an additional dog in our home. They don't go into a shelter," Tewes said. "There are so many dogs that are overpopulated in the west and so many people in Michigan that want smaller dogs. They're so prevalent on the west coast, but you don't see many here, so it's very exciting to help dogs all over the U.S. if we can."
Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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