Forlorn that her state is overrun with abandoned chihuahuas, Katharine Heigl is contributing to a mass export of the trembling, bug-eyed creatures from California animal shelters to Middle America on airplanes.

It's been a trying year for Hollywood chihuahuas; Tinkerbell Hilton had a near-death experience and beloved Taco Bell mascot Gidget passed away. And now their supply is overrunning demand, even in long-time chihuahua haven of California. The San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times started covering the harrowing story weeks ago:

[T]he Chihuahua conundrum—a shocking surplus of them flooding the state's stretched-thin shelters—has gotten out of control. ... "We call it the Paris Hilton syndrome."

And at the Peninsula Humane Society in San Mateo, "the number of Chihuahuas has eclipsed pit bulls as the most common breed," Senior Vice President Scott Delucchi said as he clutched Toffee, a sweater-clad, 10-year-old mix.

...and now, humanitarian Hollywood has mobilized to solve the case.

There are so many Chihuahuas in Los Angeles city shelters that the animal services agency airlifted 25 last week to Nashua, N.H., where the local Humane Society found all of them homes within a day. [LAT]

Actress Katharine Heigl's foundation recently arranged the transport of nearly 70 Chihuahuas to a New Hampshire humane society, which found new homes for each of them almost immediately. [LAT]

"I want your problem," said Gail Buchwald, senior vice president of the ASPCA in New York City. "If you want to pack up a box of Chihuahuas and ship them here, I'd be thrilled." [SFC]

A local organization plans to transport 35 Chihuahuas to new adoptive homes in Colorado this week. [LAT]

The Great Small Dog Diaspora is expected to continue in 2010.