To Beat Panhandling, SF Tries Puppies

SF has already gone to the dogs. Now the dogs will go to the beggars.

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, Jun 14, 2012  |  Updated 7:20 AM PDT
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For the lucky panhandler willing to quit begging.

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To beat homelessness and its accompanying social ills, San Francisco city officials have a cunning plan.

Release the hounds!

Dogs will be issued to single-room occupancy hotel residents who can prove that they're capable of providing care, according to the San Francisco Chronicle -- and with the dogs, a $50 to $75 weekly stipend to cover dog food and other canine necessities, the newspaper reported.

The idea is aptly named WOOF -- Wonderful Opportunities for Occupants and Fidos, according to Bevan Dufty, who is serving as Mayor Ed Lee's homeless czar.

Starting Aug. 1, dogs from local shelters will be available to formerly homeless people living in city-funded SROS or other housing, the newspaper reported. In order to receive a dog, and the cash, the would-be owner must "not [be] severely mentally ill," not be a hoarder, not have a history of violence, and be "seeking treatment if they have addictions," the newspaper reported.

They must also swear not to panhandle. "If they're caught begging with the puppy, the animal will be taken back to the shelter," the newspaper reported.

The city is taking this tact because there's "anecdotal evidence to suggest the majority of panhandlers are housed, but supplement their income through begging or just don't have anything else to occupy their time," the newspaper reported.

The dogs will change that.

So the next time someone asks you for a dollar, respond: no doggie for you!

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