In 2013, Riverside County animal shelters received 351 huskies or husky mixes. In the first 10 months of 2018, that number has risen to over 1,000. Officials believe a big reason for the rise is Game of Thrones.
As the Press Enterprise notes, husky puppies are adorable and cuddly…but soon, they grow to more than 50 pounds, have a ton of energy, and the strength to pull heavy sleds – which ends up being overwhelming and just too much for some people to handle.
“They don’t have the blue-eyed pup they fell in love with,” Jaclyn Schart, Animal Services chief for Riverside County told the newspaper. “They’ve turned into something that wants to pull a sled in Alaska all day. And if they have a short fence, the husky will escape right over it.”
Then there is the Game of Thrones direwolf factor, with officials believing that the popularity of the animals on the show has led to more people wanting the dogs, much in the same 101 Dalmations and Beverly Hills Chihuahua
“We really do believe the series has caused our Husky spike,” said @helpinRIVcoPETS Chief Jaclyn Schart. “It’s the same trend shelters experienced with ‘101 Dalmatians’ or ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua.’ Popular culture drives up interest in certain breeds.” The #GameofThrones Factor.
— Samantha Cortese (@SamanthaCortese) November 21, 2018
“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,” GOT star Peter Dinklage said in a 2017 statement for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “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.”
Officials ask those who are thinking about bringing a husky or any dog into their home to do their homework and make sure they breed they are thinking of committing to are the one right for them.