In Las Vegas, there are far more homeless dogs in shelters than there are people looking to adopt them. In Canada, the demand for small adoptable dogs greatly exceeds the supply.
At Las Vegas’ Lied Animal Shelter alone, more than 117 dogs and cats are brought in every day. Last year, the shelter took in close to 50,000 animals.
But thanks to the organization Foreclosed Upon Pets International (FUPI), more than 1,000 of these Las Vegas pups have found new homes since 2008 — in Canada.
Watch the FUPI team celebrate sending their 1,000th dog to Canada here.
FUPI was founded by Vegas native Everett Croxson in 2008 following the foreclosure crisis that left many families with no choice but to give up the pets they could no longer afford.
"Some pets come from loving families that have no choice but to relinquish their animals to animal control authorities due to home foreclosure," reads Croxson's website." Other animals come from less responsible pet owners who have neglected, abused and/or abandoned their pets."
The Daily Mail reports that the idea of unwanted Las Vegas pups immigrating to Canada started "when one dog lover from Vancouver visited the Vegas shelter and said that she wanted to help save the lives of as many of these poor, unwanted animals as she could."
The woman introduced Croxson to Richard Kaga, the executive vice president of Petcetera, the Canadian chain of pet stores that now adopts out the dogs.
At a rate of about 16 small dogs twice a week — mostly Chihuahuas, terrier mixes and poodles — the homeless dogs travel by jet from Las Vegas to Vancouver, where they are made available for adoption at Petcetera for $500 each, a fee that covers the costs of the animals' transportation, shots, spaying or neutering and health certificate.
"It's a well-oiled country. The laws are strict," Croxson says of Canada to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "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."
Croxson says that as many as 40 per cent of the dogs rescued by FUPI are shipped to Canada.
"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," says Petcetera's Kaga.
The foreclosure-displaced dogs who can't make the trip from Nevada to Vancouver are placed in a local foster-care program.