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Abandoned Las Vegas dogs find new homes in Canada

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 Pono, a 3-year-old male Pomeranian mix, was the 1,000th dog to be adopted as part of FUPI's Canada program. (Foreclosed Upon Pets International) In Las Vegas, there are too many homeless dogs for the shelter system to handle. Canada, on the other hand, can barely keep adoptable pooches in stock.

The supply and demand model has never been cuter.

Thanks to an organization called Foreclosed Upon Pets International (FUPI), more than 1,000 furry new Canadians have come north of the border since 2008, traveling by jet from Las Vegas to Vancouver (with a layover in Seattle.)

The organization's executive director Everett Croxson told the Las Vegas Review Journal Dec.2 that canine refugees are being airlifted into Canada at the rate of 32 small dogs per week.

The dogs -- most of them Chihuahuas, terrier mixes and poodles - end up at a B.C. branch of the chain store Petcetera, where they are put up for adoption at the rate of $500 US.

The fee covers the cost of the animals' transportation, spaying or neutering, shots, and health certificate.

"For whatever reason, we have a shortage of small dogs here, and to be quite honest, we were shocked at the size of the problem in Las Vegas," said Petcetera's executive vice president Richard Kaga.

According to FUPI's website, the problem is indeed quite large.

Croxson says it was the foreclosure crisis of 2008 that inspired him to start his business, and that while the situation in Las Vegas has improved since that time, many pets are still found abandoned in foreclosed houses or are turned away from homes due to financial hardship.

"Some pets come from loving families that have no choice but to relinquish their animals to animal control authorities due to home foreclosure," reads his website." Other animals come from less responsible pet owners who have neglected, abused and/or abandoned their pets."

It is FUPI's goal to help find homes for foreclosure-displaced animals who would otherwise end up at Las Vegas' Lied Animal Shelter - the highest-volume single-site animal shelter in the U.S.

According to the shelter's website, 65 animals on average are exterminated per day due to lack of space.

"Over here in the United States, we're just one big puppy mill," said Croxson, 61, to the Review Journal. "Let's face it. People are breeding for money in their backyards, and the concept of spaying and neutering never enters their heads, even if the laws exist. Even if there are such laws on the books."

Demand for dogs is strong in Canada, however, as rules requiring owners to spay and neuter their pets make adoptable dogs harder to come by.

"It's a well-oiled country. The laws are strict," Croxton said. "Not everybody is in the breeding business to make a buck, and the economy isn't nearly as bad as ours. So Canadian citizens can actually afford their pets."

For pups unable to make the journey from Vegas to Vancouver, FUPI also boasts a foster care program within Nevada for foreclosure-displaced animals.

Would you consider flying a pet in from out-of-country? Share your thoughts below.

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