7610 Davis Blvd, Naples, FL
COLLIER COUNTY — When June Dunfee walks into the room, 22 eyes turn to her and there are cries of excitement.
As Dunfee, a senior shelter technician at Collier County Domestic Animal Services, holds a tiny Chihuahua named Sweet Pea in her hands and looks at the 10 other Chihuahuas in their holding pen, she smiles.
"They're very good dogs," she said.
On Saturday, Dunfee and the rest of the DAS staff hope the "very good dogs" find some very good homes. The organization is hoping to adopt 10 of the dogs in pairs of two as a 2-for-1 adoption special for $85. The 11th dog, a small girl named Sweet Pea, will be adopted alone, DAS officials said.
"The other dogs are too big and they kind of like to pound on her," said Dunfee.
The dogs are being adopted 2-for-1 because they have grown up with other dogs.
DAS was alerted to the dogs when they received a call from a resident who was concerned an East Naples resident was becoming overwhelmed with the number of Chihuahuas she was taking care of, according to Dana Alger, DAS animal control officers supervisor.
Alger said DAS went to the home and found 25 dogs and spoke to the woman, offering to take some of the dogs and place them in homes if the woman was overwhelmed.
The owner surrendered 15 animals to DAS on Oct. 10, according to DAS Public Information Specialist Daniel Christenbury. Of those, three dogs were placed with a Chihuahua rescue organization; one was euthanized due to a congenital heart problem; and 11 were left at the shelter to be placed up for adoption.
The woman kept the rest of the dogs for herself and DAS is working with her to ensure the dogs in her possession are licensed, vaccinated and spayed or neutered, said Alger.
"We are following up with her," she said. "Someone gave her a male dog and she had all female dogs."
The dogs were all in good health and had plenty of food and water, according to DAS officials.
The dogs have spent the last several weeks in quarantine, getting socialized with Dunfee's help.
"It's really been an amazing transformation," said Christenbury. "They were quite timid when they first showed up. They had one owner, they didn't see a lot of people."
Any trace of timidity is gone as the dogs approach new visitors with excitement, licking hands and standing on their hind legs to show off.
Those who adopt the dogs, which will be given new homes on a first-come, first-served basis, will also receive a $500 coupon package from local pet care providers Saturday, according to Christenbury.
"The local pet care providers have generously donated services like vaccinations ... grooming," he said.
DAS suggests that those who would like a leg up on getting some of the dogs can fill out an adoption application in advance on the DAS website, collierpets.com.