Dogs For The Homeless: New SF Program Pairs Puppies With Ex-Panhandlers (PHOTOS)

Can Puppies Help Homelessness?

Puppies have some pretty magical powers: the ability to look cute from all angles, the ability to pee wherever they want.

And now, they may also have the power to address San Francisco's panhandling problem.

The city will initiate a new program August 1, believed to be the first of its kind in the country. WOOF (Wonderful Opportunities for Occupants and Fidos) encourages homeless individuals to give up panhandling. In exchange, they'll receive a small stipend to foster problematic puppies until they're ready for adoption.


Bevan Dufty, San Francisco's point-person on homeless issues, said his goal is to try to help both the city and its animals.

San Francisco Animal Care and Control will screen potential foster parents to ensure that they are a good fit for the program. They must live in supportive housing, not on the streets, and prove they are not severely mentally ill, aren't hoarders, don't have a history of violence and aren't seeking treatment for addictions.

They must also promise to stop panhandling, and if they are caught begging with the puppy, the animal will be taken back to the shelter.

In exchange, the approved applicant will receive $50-$75 a week, as well as several training sessions, regular check-ins, and all the dog food, toys, leashes and veterinary care they need, provided by Animal Care and Control.

As the program expands, the participants will ideally be trained in grooming, dog walking or other animal-related skills so that they can join the regular workforce.

An initial grant of $10,000 from Vanessa Getty to Animal Care and Control will kickstart WOOF. In the mean time, check out some of the other adoptable animals the organization has to offer in the slideshow below:


San Francisco Animal Care & Control

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