‘Herd of Chihuahuas' need home


Dale Kaplan-Stein plays with one of nine abandoned Chihuahuas on Wednesday. She hopes someone will adopt the dogs and puppies that were left at the clinic.

Elizabeth Hamilton / Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 11:16 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 11:16 a.m.

Cyberspace is full of urban legends about roaming packs of Chihuahuas in Mexico taking down people, bulls and other beings much larger than them.

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Dale Kaplan-Stein plays with one of nine abandoned Chihuahuas on Wednesday. She hopes someone will adopt the dogs and puppies that were left at the clinic.

Elizabeth Hamilton / Gainesville Sun

But the pack that Gainesville veterinarian Dale Kaplan-Stein now has on her hands is full of love rather than menace.

Someone left nine of the little dogs at her Northwood Oaks Veterinary Hospital at 5331 NW 34th St. on Sunday

The dogs — about half are puppies — are in relatively good shape but need homes, Kaplan-Stein said.

"They are sweet little things," Kaplan-Stein said. "Thank God the people didn't put them in the garbage can. Thank God they didn't throw them in the river. Even if these were animals that needed to be euthanized, at least we could have done it humanely.

"I look at it like someone taking a baby to the church."

Someone put the dogs in the fenced yard of the veterinary clinic, but they got out. A woman returning home from church saw the dogs by the road, corralled them inside the fence and called Gainesville police, said Officer Shawn Hardman, who responded to the call.

Hardman said she took steps to secure the dogs and left a note for veterinary staff.

"They are teeny little things and could easily get out, so I used some of my flexible handcuffs to strap the fencing better so they couldn't get out," Hardman said. "They were great. They were very friendly little things. When I was securing the gate, they were fighting over my finger to bite it because they were puppies. They were licking me and gnawing on my fingers. It was very cute."

The Chihuahuas were later found by a veterinary technician who went to the clinic to treat hospitalized animals. He heard a lot of barking and looked in the back of the hospital.

"He said, ‘Oh my God, there's a herd of Chihuahuas.' He saw a note in the fence and a bin with the Chihuahuas," Kaplan-Stein said.

The dogs are not spayed or neutered and have parasites, but otherwise appear to be in good shape.

Kaplan-Stein said she will treat them and then put them up for adoption through the hospital's adoption service. People can call Kaplan-Stein's two hospitals to apply — Northwood Oaks at 373-7387 or Oaks Veterinary Hospital at 332-7387.

"They are loving everybody," she said.

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