By Bill Draper Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hundreds of tiny tacos, ballerinas and other costumed dogs fell short of a world record Saturday morning in Kansas City, but organizers said they were encouraged by the turnout for the inaugural Cinco de Mayo Chihuahua parade.
Mark Valentine, the president of the group that organized the parade, said 500 dogs showed up in costume — about 200 fewer than what was needed to break the Guinness Book world record. The event, organized by United Entertainment to benefit a local animal shelter, was open to any breed.
Valentine estimated that 80 percent of the costumed canines were Chihuahuas, more than the 50 percent he anticipated.
“We are going to keep doing this until we run out of dogs in Kansas City and have to start shipping them in,” Valentine said. “For a first try, we did OK.”
Valentine said he was told Chihuahuas were among the most common breeds in animal shelters. Saturday’s event raised about $2,500 for The Pet Connection, a local no-kill shelter.
“Chihuahuas get killed in animal shelters almost as much as pitbulls,” he said.
Anne Fisher, a food stylist from Stilwell, Kan., about a half-hour south of Kansas City, said her male Chihuahua, Willie, seemed relieved when she slipped off his ballerina outfit after the parade.
“We figured he was going to be the smallest Chihuahua here, but he’s not,” she said of the 3-pound dog. “We’re having more fun than he is. It’s hysterical.”
Just after 11 a.m., everyone in the crowd with a Chihuahua raised their pets over their heads. The result was a sea of tiny heads adorned with sombreros, cowboy hats, bows and even a Green Bay Packers football helmet.
Afterward, participants lined up and participated in a slow-moving procession along a sidewalk, as dozens of people in lawn chains watched the colorful animals strut past.
Valentine thought it was a little extreme that Guinness required a veterinarian to be on hand to make sure every dog registered for the event was alive. No dead dogs showed, he said, but someone did bring a potbellied pig.
“Apparently, they’ve had trouble with people sneaking pigs in,” Valentine said.