So it is with surprise that I admit guarded support for PETA’s latest stand.
The San Francisco municipality is running a program called Wonderful Opportunities for Occupants and Fidos (WOOF) encouraging previously homeless people to foster dogs that are at risk of being euthanasied and PETA opposes this program:
‘Teresa Chagrin, PETA’s animal care and control specialist, calls the program, “A lure to keep people from panhandling. Many chronic panhandlers battle with addiction issues. These animals are supposedly not adoptable. Putting these two troubled populations together is very likely to result in disaster.”
Bevan Dufty, director of San Francisco’s Housing Opportunities, Partnership, and Engagement (HOPE) initiative, said that while some of the housing residents do resort to panhandling, they should not be labeled as panhandlers, but as people trying to get their lives back on track, and are fully able to care for pets.’
I have to admit, I kind-of see PETA’s point. Let me qualify by saying that I do accept that not all ex-homeless are irresponsible and that not all dogs at risk of euthanasia are beyond help…
…here follow three paragraphs of politically correct waffle about how I support giving homeless a chance etc. etc. Which I actually do but I cut that bit out so as not to bore you to death and you will just have to take my word for it instead…
But surely even the good councillors at San Francisco Housing recognise that fostering a dog is a challenging job best performed by a professional and the consequences of picking the wrong person for the job are serious. So how about giving the ex-homeless a different but equally important community-based job instead? Cleaning up footpaths or maybe painting council buildings?
I just feel that with all the in-depth assessing and interviews there will still be some unsuitable people that will fall through the cracks. And when it comes to dog rehabilitation I don’t think that accepting a small risk is good enough.