Panhandlers Line Up to Get Puppies, Cash
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|World's cutest beggar|
Monday was the first day for WOOF (Wonderful Opportunities for Occupants and Fidos), the program that promises a $75 weekly stipend to panhandlers who train and adopt a puppy from Animal Care and Control. Staff interviewed and screened many applicants before narrowing it down to 10 (pan)handlers who will work with the dogs in training classes before they can be officially adopted.
The chosen dogs are currently not adoptable, mostly due to behavioral reasons, said Deb Campbell, spokeswoman for the ACC. But the (pan)handlers will work with the pups in training classes until the dogs are ready to either go home with the participant or go back to the shelter to be adopted, she said.
"There's been a lot of screening and interviewing," Campbell said.
The program is the brainchild of Bevan Dufty, the supervisor-turned-homeless-czar who thought this was one hell of a good plan to help puppies find a home and panhandlers make some cash. The program screens applicants to ensure they have a home, and that they will not use the dogs to panhandle.
Naturally, San Francisco is open to the idea of helping both puppies and panhandlers, but the cutting-edge experiment has not gone without some criticism. Readers probably remember PETA's "sharply worded" letter to Mayor Ed Lee, offering him $10,000 to halt the program. But, like any other letter from PETA, it went in the recycling bin.
We called Dufty to see how he was feeling about the start of this program, and whether he's heard if PETA is willing to raise the price. No word back yet.