This is not directly related to Chihuahuas but when I read this article, I had NO idea this was going on. From the PETA media website
Pound Seizure: The Shame of Shelters
The pounds and shelters of the United States were established to take in homeless animals for both humane and public-health reasons. Some animals are taken to shelters by guardians who can no longer keep them. Others are strays taken in by concerned individuals, police officers, or animal-control officers. While shelters sometimes take in other types of animals, most of their charges are dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens, and almost all are former companion animals or their offspring.
What Is Pound Seizure?
If a shelter or pound is located in a state or county with a “pound-seizure law,” it means that animals who are not claimed by former or new guardians within a certain number of days (typically five) are required by law to be turned over on demand for experimentation.
The ultimate fate of these confiscated animals is death. But before they die, they may suffer greatly at the hands of vivisectors like those at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, where a PETA undercover investigator witnessed hideously painful scabies experiments on dogs seized from the local pound. In the experiments, dogs were infected with scabies, a skin disease caused by microscopic mites that spread over the entire body, causing intense prolonged itching, open wounds, and, eventually, death. One dog named Genesee was infected so severely that she turned in constant circles, unable to rest because of the intense itching. She cried out when handled, wouldn’t eat or drink, and lost her balance. Her anguished howls could be heard through closed doors until she finally died—without veterinary treatment because that would have “interfered” with the experiment.
Pound seizure is illegal in Denmark, England, the Netherlands, and Sweden. In the United States, there is no federal law regarding pound seizure, but 13 states forbid it: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia. Most other states have no law on the matter and leave it up to county or town governments, but three states—Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Utah—require pound seizure at government-run facilities
. Several bills opposing pound seizure have been put before Congress, but none has been enacted. Please visit www.banpoundseizure.org/home.shtml
for more information.
Pound Seizure Problems
Animal-protection organizations object strongly to pound seizure … and for good reason. Animals who were once well-loved companions suffer the double blow of losing their human friends and being confined to a laboratory cage. Families experience the anguish of knowing that a lost animal or one they have given up may have been killed in a painful experiment. In communities that allow or enforce pound seizure, people often choose to abandon animals they cannot keep on the street or in a field rather than send them to a laboratory via the local shelter, thus adding to the problem of homeless strays. To make money, some disreputable shelters have been known to quickly sell their healthiest and most adoptable wards to a laboratory rather than finding them new homes.
Random Sources, Random Results
Although many experimenters praise pound seizure because it provides cheap and easy access to an unlimited supply of vivisection victims, some scientists feel that such “random source” animals, of mixed breeds and unknown histories, yield misleading results in experiments. And because pound seizure provides an inexpensive and easy source of animals, it allows experimenters to continue using animals rather than switching to humane alternatives. Initially, purpose-bred animals cost more, but animals from random or unknown sources must go through an expensive period of “conditioning” before becoming part of an experiment. These animals also have a higher mortality rate in laboratories than purpose-bred animals—perhaps because the latter have not been sensitized to human love and then betrayed.
What You Can Do
If you live in a state that mandates pound seizure, learn as much as possible about the subject. Talk to the managers of local shelters and pounds to see what they have done or are doing. Find out whether any town or state officials are interested in the issue and whether any are working to repeal pound-seizure laws, either locally or nationally. Start a petition, find occasions to talk about or debate the issue in private and in public, and organize a letter-writing campaign. Try to arrange a public viewing of PETA’s video of a medical-school dog lab or write to PETA for a vivisection action pack.
If you live in a state that leaves the decision up to local authorities, you can work to ban pound seizure in your community or campaign for a state law.
If you live in a state that already forbids pound seizure, you can guard against efforts to change that law and work for federal legislation against pound seizure. Because of interstate animal trafficking, companion animals in every state will be at risk until there is a federal law against pound seizure.