Thursday, July 19, 2012

The WOOF Program

Photo: Miguel Saavedra

San Francisco has one of the highest homeless populations in the United States. It has the fourth largest population in California as well as the 13th largest population in the country. The city proper has a population of over 812,000 people. With a homeless population of 6,455 in 2011, it's no wonder that they are working to find alternatives to fight homelessness.

This is where I have to thank PETA. If they didn't make such a stink about the WOOF program in San Francisco, I would have never known about it. Last year, the San Francisco Animal Care and Control took in 500 more dogs than last year totaling 2,424.

What Is The Woof Program?

The WOOF Program is set to start in August of this year. WOOF stands for Wonderful Opportunities for Occupants and Fidos. Inspired by the story of Charlie Traywick, a homeless man who had bouts with severe depression. Eighteen months ago, he was dragged by a friend to a local animal shelter and came across Charlie, a bichon mix who was skin and bones. Charlie was so weak, he could barely climb a flight of stairs. Yet, in Traywick's care, he flourished and is now a regular dog. Traywick has been off the streets since and holds his head higher. This was done without the help of a program like WOOF.

This program screens homeless applicants who are mentally ill, have a history of violence or are hoarders. Any person participating in the program will be ejected if they are using the dog to help with panhandling. The dogs used for this program are either:
  1. Puppies who are too young to be spayed or neutered.
  2. Rowdy dogs who need to have their social skills polished.
  3. Fearful dogs who would benefit from having one on one time to make them more adoptable.
Most importantly, dogs with an aggressive streak or dog fighting history are not allowed into the program.

The program housing is supplied by Community Housing Partnership or other similar community housing organizations. Even more significant is the fact that the funding was provided from a donor named Venessa Getty who donated $10,000 USD as a grant for Animal Care and Control.

This program goes into effect starting August 1st. This looks like it may have great promise. Anything that may cut down on both homelessness and euthanization is definitely worth a shot. While I admire PETA's advocacy for animals, I think they have jumped to a premature conclusion without understanding the program fully.

Let's Discuss!

What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree with Animal Care and Control or PETA

It's All Related

Prison Dogs Rehab
Lost and Found Pets America

Read More About It!

Los Angeles Times Article
San Francisco Chronicle Website

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