The Time An Arizona Neighborhood Was 'Terrorized' By The Most Adorable Gang In The World

Dogs, as we all know, have been humanity's best friend for many, many years. It's quite ironic, National Geographic reports, given our history of hunting wolves, but somewhere along the line we domesticated our canine companions and have been largely inseparable from them since. (And to be sure, there remain false facts about dogs that you always thought were true.)

Today's breeds, of course, differ widely in size, shape, general temperament, and so many other things besides. Some dogs are intimidatingly large. In May 2022, Guinness World Records declared the "tallest dog living (male)" to be one Zeus, a Great Dane. Boasting a stature as imposing as images of his Olympian namesake (in relative dog terms, that is), this enormous dog is reportedly 1.046 meters (3 feet, 5.18 inches) tall.

As is often the case with humans, looks can be very deceiving. Zeus, the outlet goes on, is fun-loving and friendly despite his size, according to his family. By the same token, dogs that appear small and cute can be utter menaces. Just ask the residents of one particular neighborhood in Phoenix, Arizona.

The fury of the chihuahua

As Britannica reports, the chihuahua is one of the very smallest dog breeds. It doesn't tend to weigh more than 3 kilograms (6 pounds), and shouldn't frighten away interlopers larger than, say, a mischievous rat. Like a lot of smaller dogs, though, chihuahuas can be furious little balls of energy, and make a huge amount of noise.

Needless to say, every dog is different, and some chihuahuas may resent this implication. They may be calm, quiet, and content at all times. The outlet goes on to recommend great care when taking a chihuahua into a house with young children, as small humans can inadvertently pose a danger to even smaller dogs if they don't understand the importance of careful handling. Chihuahuas in the Maryvale neighborhood of Phoenix, Arizona — according to Huffington Post — didn't get this memo.

Reportedly, the diminutive dogs roam the neighborhood in wild gangs ("gangs" perhaps not quite being the word), and no innocent bicycling child is safe from their miniature wrath. Chihuahuas may top out at around 20 centimeters (8 inches) tall, per Britannica, but these rebellious ones threatened even the adults of Maryvale.

The scourge of Maryvale

In February 2014, ABC News reported that Maryvale was home to numerous stray chihuahuas. The headline provided, "Chihuahuas Rampage in Arizona," may be a tad on the dramatic side, but the little dogs were indeed posing a considerable problem.

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control explained just how many of the stray dogs there were in the area. Melissa Gable of the department said, when comparing reports they received the previous year to those elsewhere, " ... [T]he calls from Maryvale were three times higher than surrounding areas."

According to KSAZ (via Huffington Post), a Maryvale local stated that some of the many chihuahuas were accidentally hit by cars they chased, and they would also pursue children on bicycles. More than a dozen dogs would band together. As any dog owner can imagine, these tiny, adorable gangs surely left quite a mess in their wake, and, as Gable went on to explain to ABC News, " ... [T]hey're out looking for a mate and are having babies, which also contributes to the problem."

Though vigilant locals kept tabs on the issue, the high volume of telephone calls proved to be counterproductive for animal control. The department only has so many resources, after all, and the wily dogs proved adept at evading capture. In hope of circumventing this issue, Gable suggested that those who report stray dogs contain them outdoors (in a manner that brings no harm to either party) until the team caught up with them.