High demand for huskies creates influx at rescues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – “Game of Thrones” draws millions of viewers every week, but recently, it’s been the wolves on the show — “direwolves” — that are causing a different kind of craze.

“We maintain contact with several regional rescues even out in California and we believe that it’s part of the Game of Thrones syndrome,” said Steve Eastep, President of the Siberian Husky Rescue of New Mexico.

People are adopting huskies because of the show, and then realize they can’t handle their energy levels and give them away to a shelter.

“In the last six to eight months we have seen a big increase in huskies. We used to get one or two at a time, it seems like now they’re coming in pairs,” said Eastep.

He said at their rescue alone, they have 50 huskies.

“This is probably the highest number of huskies that we’ve had,” he said.

Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage has teamed up with PETA, asking people to think twice before adopting a husky, even issuing a statement on the trend:

Please, to all of Game of Thrones‘ many wonderful fans, we understand that due to the direwolves’ huge popularity, many folks are going out and buying huskies,” Dinklage says. “Not only does this hurt all the deserving homeless dogs waiting for a chance at a good home in shelters, but shelters are also reporting that many of these huskies are being abandoned—as often happens when dogs are bought on impulse, without understanding their needs. Please, please, if you’re going to bring a dog into your family, make sure that you’re prepared for such a tremendous responsibility and remember to always, ALWAYS, adopt from a shelter.

“We see a number of them,” said Paul Castor, the Animal Welfare Director for the City of Albuquerque.

He said they currently have eight huskies at city shelters, including two puppies. They’ve already seen 170 come through their doors this year.

“They’re very striking to look at and so they want to take them home and love on them and that’s great, but they’re a very high-energy dog,” said Castor.

People around Albuquerque said they felt bad for the huskies that are once again in need of a new home.

“Adopting a dog because of a show, I get it, but you need to make sure you’re able to take care of the animal,” said Greg Downey.

Most people feel that those interested in adopting the dogs should think twice before doing so.

“A dog is like a child, you have to be able to take care of it and it’s not fair to the dog if you can’t do that,” said Siani Winslow.

Castor said the city shelters have seen a similar trend with other Hollywood hits, like people wanting pugs after Men in Black or Chihuahuas after Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

The Siberian Husky Rescue of New Mexico said with the influx of huskies, it’s looking for foster homes.

All eight of the huskies at the city shelters are currently up for adoption, except for the two puppies. They can be viewed at the east and westside locations, or on their website.

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