For the Love of Teacup Puppies

Teacup Chihuahuas, that is.
The Sad Story of Wanda Jones’ Tucson Teacups Chihuahuas.

 

Chip’s relatives. The big one is a ringer for Chip.
  tucson citizen photos. see link below.
Weds March 12, 2008, Tucson AZ Word breaks that the biggestanimal hoard of dogs ever discovered in AZ is busted wide open by a welfarecheck request. A woman bought a Chihuahua from Wanda Jones’ Tucson Teacups thatturned out to be seriously ill according to a vet check. She had visited thehome to buy the dog and was disturbed by the filth and chaos, so she reportedthe operation to county authorities.
The scene that followed the welfare check was unprecedented.Over 800 dogs were found in the home, a manufactured triple wide in a niceManville Rd.  area of the county. Onesource also mentioned there being a barn, but most reported that all the animals,including some parrots were in the triple wide itself. Numbers of dogs beingreported started at several hundred, but the final count was 883 as reported atthe indictment hearing the following August 30th. Wanda, her husbandand son were given probation as the authorities realized she was pathetic for apuppy mill; she wasn’t really making money on sales. She was once a business,but had turned into a hoarder somewhere along the way.
The vast majority of the dogs were Chihuahuas, but therewere Yorkies and Cresties in the mix. I am also interested in the WestsideCrestie lines found at various puppy farms along Sandario Rd, (the only throughroad on the West side of I10  in Tucson),so I made a note of her involvement in that breed, to be remembered in later posts.
At first, I did not relate to the big bust of the hoardeddogs in a personal way. I was just horrified along with everyone else. At somepoint, I heard the name Wanda Jones and realized, with shock, that I had boughtmy Chip from her! It was a weird sale and I knew something was hinky, but I hadnot bought a dog for decades and wanted to buy from a local breeder. I foundthe ad in the local newspaper classifieds for a Chihuahua for $100.00 Therewere several such ads and that was the average backyard breeder price in 2003.She offered to come by my home with the puppies as she had to deliver onenearby, anyway.
She showed up with a cage of pups. The top lifted off and wecould see the assortment within. There was a spotted Chi, a golden one, a Chorkiewith cute stiff hair and a black and tan Chi. We were taken by the Chorkie,though I liked the Black and tan Chi, too. We decided on the Chorkie. I askedwhy she had two different litters in the crate and she said she was selling theChorkie for a friend, since it was the same age as hers. I suppose big alarmsshould have been going off, but I was not an informed buyer. She left the Chorkie,who was cute as could be.
About  6 hours later,the Chorkie would not wake up from a nap. I called Wanda in a panic and shereassured me that he had passed out from hypoglycemia and recommended I feedhim some Nutrical. I had never heard of it and we live way out in the country,so Wanda said she’d bring me some. I told her I didn’t want the puppy and totake it back. She said she would trade it out, so I told her I liked the blackand tan chi. She asked me to meet her on Sandario Rd at Mile wide, about 10miles north of my home. I went and she showed up with the spotted puppy and ateacup with its tongue hanging out the side of its mouth. I was alarmed by thenand told her I did not want the spotted dog. I had asked for the black and tan.She showed me the teacup and started extolling its tiny size. She put someNutrical in the Chorkie’s mouth and agreed to come back with the correct Chi. Isat and waited for about a ½ hour wondering where she lived and why she did not let me take the passed out dog directly to her home. She had said I couldn’tbecause her parrots got upset at strangers. Finally, she returned with the pupI named Chip. I took him home to a hubby who said that was the weirdest transactionhe had ever heard of. He really poked fun at me for being the ultimate dupe. Chip is a good dog, but I talk about him elsewhere.
I have thought about Wanda and her situation now and then, fora couple of years. I decided to read the articles and offer them below for youto read. I collected what photos I could find on the story and noticed othersthat looked like Chip. For better or worse, some, if not most, of Wanda’s dogsmay have been related to him.
If you haven’t been wondering “why” someone does this kindof thing, read no further. I do not actually know, but I have ideas. All I haveto go on is reported behaviors, plus one fact I noticed today in an obituarythat came up under her name. No, Wanda has not died yet, she still lives in hertriple wide with husband, son, some dogs all neutered and her parrots. But in1998 her only daughter died in her 30’s. I do not imagine Wanda has everrecovered from that grief though she has obviously kept on going in spite ofit. Her only son, known as Billy, is in his 40’s and still lives at home. Heapparently worked for a veterinary hospital that eventually refused to treatWanda’s dogs- but never turned her in, either. He is supportive of Wanda and helps with the dogs.
Wanda did not advertise and sell all of her Chihuahuasthrough her online business, she exclusively marketed her “teacup” dogs to theexclusion of the average sized dogs. She looked legitimate and made wannabeeowners do the usual doggie song and dance routine online, filling out papersand making promises and paying an exhorbitant amount for a runt. She marketed her teacups and strived to meet the demand.
Now I am speculating based on my sense of reading betweenthe lines and tiny behavioral clues. I do know that if you start with 2 4 lbChis and breed them, you may get a teacup depending on which size alleles areinherited by the individual puppies. But breeding even this AKC approved size is tricky and usually requires access to a caesarian.  Chihuahuas have both “make me bigger thanmy parents” alleles and “make me smaller” alleles. When the pup gets “Make mesmaller” alleles from both parents, the resulting pup will be smaller, maybeeven a teacup. Of course this does not happen with every pup. In fact for everytiny pup you get, you will average a bigger pup, too.
Teacup sized dogs, including Chihuahuas are very delicate.They rarely live long- a fact which never passes the lips of someone who breedsfor teacups. The average unknowing person will think you can breed 2 teacupstogether and just keep getting teacups, but that is not the case. If a female teacupsized dog makes it to a breeding age, a very iffy proposition in itself, itwill not be able to birth healthy pups on its own, perhaps a reason for Wanda’sunpaid vet bills. What would someone like Wanda do, to get teacups? I think shewould use the smallest males she had who can still produce offspring. Breedthem to larger females and cherry pick the runts of the litter for high-pricedonline sales. Runts do not occur in every litter thus bred. It is obvious thatin breeding for teacups exclusively, you get a lot of flotsam and extradoggies. Wanda tried to sell them through the newspaper. They restricted the numberof times she could advertise- perhaps to discourage puppy farms. In my case,she had used “her son’s” phone number as the paper kept track through phone numbers.Obviously, she would need throw away phones to follow that scheme very far.
Instead, it appears she got discouraged. She began to feelno one could take care of her babies as well as she could. She actuallyreported that to someone in the accompanying articles. I know I didn’t helpthat attitude, when I returned the Chorkie! That particular line ofthought is distorted thinking often found in hoarders. So she crossed thehoarder line after she already had hundreds of dogs in order to meet the demandfor teacups.
Wanda Jones’ dogs were sent to shelters all over the country.
Why she decided to sell the pup to the person who reportedher is conjecture. So is why she would allow the person near her home, whichshe had not allowed for at least a decade. Maybe she was glad to get it over.

3 Comments

Caitlin Williams

I ran into Wanda at the Savers thrift store yesterday. She really is a sweet person and happy to have only 6 neutered dogs, some of them her oldest Chis. One is 19 and counting. I mentioned Chip and told her what a good dog he was and she invited me to come visit. I doubt I will, but the followup was nice.She is not a criminal and not a scammer, by design; she just just did not think it through to the end, before it caught up to her. Another crazy old dog lady, back under control.

Reply

Jennifer Shelton

I bought my blessed Japanese Chin “Suki” from this horrible person. I was so young, and knew nothing of puppy mill dogs, but she met me in the Old Tucson parking lot, and sold me my baby, who died after a horrible and early death. He suffered from a heart murmur, had a stroke, couldn’t even remember how to eat. I fed him with meds and by syringe with baby food. It was the hardest decision to let him go, he went from 11 pounds to 7 in a matter of a month. I do not regret ever getting my little boy, but he died at the early age of 8, by my hand. I want justice, and I think people who hoard and profit off innocent creatures need to be put in jail FOR LIFE!

Reply

    Caitlin Williams

    I am so sorry you got caught in her horrible fantasy. I think she was delusional and the judge felt sorry for her and she just does not understand what she did was a travesty of dog breeding or that she ever hurt anyone, including the dogs. She wasn’t even embarrassed about it, but thought it was some kind of gov’t plot or something. I feel so stupid looking back, that I would buy a puppy away from the home where it was raised. I made that rule up after I met Wanda.

    How about giving such people a tattoo that says; “Not allowed to sell dogs”? Like a dog logo with a red line slashed through it?
    Her husband and son are feeding her, so i would hate for the public to take on that expense.
    She is pathetic and I was stupid not to know better.

    Reply

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