4:00 PM EDT, September 23, 2011
Celebrities like Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, and Britney Spears make owning purse-size pooches all the rage.
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Vanderpump is rarely seen without her teacup Pomeranian Jiggy.
But there's a heartbreaking downside to this popular trend. There's an alarming rise in the dumping of handbag-size dogs at shelters across the nation.
At one Los Angeles adoption center, half the dogs are miniature pooches. Madeline Bernstein is the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the SPCA.
"Here we are completely overrun with Chihuahuas and other little dogs. It's kind of a sad phenomenon," she says.
Reese Witherspoon and her handbag dog Bruiser from the movie Legally Blonde helped launch the tiny dog craze.
And in real life, many celebrities actually carry their small dogs like fashion accessories, which led to young girls everywhere rushing to adopt tiny dogs.
Lullaby, a long-haired Chihuahua, is just one of the many purse-sized puppies at the shelter.
"Lullaby makes a perfect purse puppy. First of all she's adorable, and so the instinct automatically is if I had a bow in my hair then the dog could have something matching," says Bernstein.
The abandonment of these tiny dogs is a problem all across country. Lori Brodsky, in New York, owns a Havanese. She says people need to know it takes a lot of work to care for handbag pups.
"It's like having a child. You know it takes two years to toilet train a child, it takes six months to train a dog properly, you have to know it needs a lot of care and attention," Brodsky says.
If you'd like to adopt one of these purse-sized pooches, check with your local shelter.