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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bevan Dufty Is Sure Adorable Puppies Will Solve S.F.'s Panhandling Problem

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 8:58 AM

click to enlarge He loves babies, too!
  • He loves babies, too!

What former Mayor Gavin Newsom couldn't seem to accomplish, perhaps Spot can.

We were both puzzled and thrilled to read this morning that former Supervisor-turned-homeless-czar Bevan Dufty had big plans to finally combat the aggressive panhandling that perpetually turns tourists off to San Francisco.

And the dog lover has decided that puppies will do the trick. Starting Aug. 1, Dufty is going to start giving panhandlers exactly what they want: money. He'll be handing out $75 stipends to panhandlers as well as cute puppies in need of loving home.  

Dufty is convinced that this plan -- called Wonderful Opportunities for Occupants and Fidos (WOOF) -- will help both puppy, who needs a home, and panhandler, who needs money. 

And no, animals hoarders, mentally ill residents, and homeless people will not qualify, Dufty tells the Chron.

So here's how this one-of-a-kind union will work:

Animal Care and Control will screen all the applicants to make sure they are living in supportive housing and not on the streets. They also must prove they do not have a violent past and are seeking treatment for any substance abuse problems.

More importantly, they must pledge to not to use the puppy to panhandle. If they are busted panhandling, their new friend will go right back to the shelter.

If they can do all of this, then each panhandler will get as much as $75 a week, as well as several training sessions and all the dog food, toys, leashes, and vet visits they need.

And in case you are wondering, a $10,000 grant from Vanessa Getty will be financing the program for now. Dufty says he'll seek more philanthropic donations along the way.

"I'm tired of pushing people around. You can make it difficult for people to panhandle, but ultimately they're just going to go do it somewhere else," Dufty told the Chron. "Why not try to meet their needs for income in a way that helps the city and its animals?"


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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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