Post # 1
This might be a very controversial topic, but I don’t think homeless people should have dogs. I live in NYC, and there are a lot of homeless people, and a number of them have dogs. While most of their dogs are very well behaved, my dog and I got attacked by an unleashed pit bull owned by a homeless person. I sustained a bite. The homeless person didn’t have any vaccation records for the dog. Of course the dog didn’t have any rabies shot tag. He didn’t have a cell phone that we could reach him on. I asked the police to help us, but they said they couldn’t do anything. We called center for disease control and reported the incidence. I couldn’t give them any information about the dog, except for its name and the owner’s name, no known address. I had no health insurance at the time (working a contract job and not married), so I couldn’t afford the $10,000 rabies shot. The CDC told me that the dog had to be observed 10 days after the bite to make sure it didn’t know any symptoms of rabies, and if it didn’t, I would be fine. Since I didn’t have a known address for the owner, they couldn’t send an agent over to observe the dog at the required time, so I was basically on my own. DH (BF at the time) and I walked all over the area where I got bitten looking for the homeless person and his dog, asking and pleading other homeless people to help us find him. We finally located him after 2.5 hours of searching. Got him a burner phone, so we could contact him. Thankfully, he didn’t disappear on us. We made arrangements to see the dog 10 days after the bite. I know I could have very well gotten attacked by a dog whose owner isn’t homeless, but I think it would’ve been much easier to contact that person and get vaccination records from that person to verify that the dog is up to date on its rabies shots. I know there’s a chance that non-homeless person’s dog still haven’t been vaccinated, but at least I could have gotten an address from them, and the CDC (in NYC) would have sent someone over to their dwelling on the 10th day to make sure the dog didn’t have rabies. What happened is probably an anomaly, but that’s the main reason why I don’t like seeing homeless people with dogs. What do you bees think about this?
Post # 2
I would probably think of it this way … “My problems here are so few and small compared to those of the homeless person that I’m just going to take a deep breath and be grateful for everything I have.” And that’s it. While I tend to be on the strict side about who should and should not own pets, I’m not going to pass judgment on someone in that postion. Just not gonna do it. That pet could be the only thing he loves, the only source of love he has, the only thing that keeps him going. So. As much as I’d like all pet owners to offer the perfect home, I’m not gonna judge in this situation. You know … walk a mile in my shoes … and all that.
Post # 3
breatheandrelax: I mean, the bigger issue is that people shouldn’t be homeless in the first place. Homelessness is widely criminalized as it is and the protection and companionship a dog offers can be life saving. What’s the alternative? If you can’t produce proof of residence, your dog is confiscated on sight by animal control and placed in a shelter or euthanized?
Post # 4
I’m sorry you and your dog have had an awful experience.
We don’t have rabies in the uk but sadly plenty of dog owners don’t vaccinate their pets so I don’t see a homeless persons dog as a greater risk than any other dog we encounter
for what it’s worth I work in dog welfare. We have special programmes to help homeless or vunerably houses people with dogs access free vet care and this includes neutering and vaccinations and other routine treatments. Vets report the dogs they see under this as some of the happiest, healthiest and well adjusted dogs. I accept only the responsible dog owners and their dogs are being seen and like all walks of life they’ll be some dog owners that just don’t care.
We also have a programme to help housing providers accept dogs. Many homeless people chose to stay homeless because to accept a hostel place theyd have to surrender their dog due to no pets rule.
if I think about it for myself, if I was on the streets, I think my dog might be my saviour. I can completely see why a homeless person would want their dog with them
there by the grace of God…
Post # 5
“Should homeless people have pets?” All other points or discussions aside, who is going to police that if the determination was “No”? Cops have way better things to do and animal control is busy enough as it is with pets owned by non-homeless people.
I don’t feel it’s my place to determine if a homeless person (or anyone) should or should not have a pet. But if you DO have a pet and you DO mistreat it (Such as, you can afford food but don’t give it any. Or, neglect it, or hit it, or anything else) you shouldn’t be able to have shit regardless of if you’re homeless or otherwise. It’s a responsibilty and if a homeless person can handle that responsibility, who gives a crap.
Post # 6
Yes I think they should keep pets if they want as they already do. That shouldn’t change.
Post # 7
No, homeless people should not have pets. If something horrible happens to the pet there is no money to pay for medical care. The animal will either die suffering or get surrendered to a shelter and euthanized for being in poor health. Lose-lose.
Post # 8
breatheandrelax: I’ve had a lawyer’s husky bite my foster chihuahua to the point I had to take her to the ER on Memorial day with punctured lungs and he didn’t stop his dog (I pulled that husky off TWICE and could have gotten bit) nor see if my dog was ok. Instead, he tried to leave. Luckily, people stopped him and even lucklier, I knew someone who knew the lawyer and he only paid for HALF the vet bill. Moral of the story, ANY DOG FROM ANY OWNER CAN BITE!
All homeless people’s dogs I’ve seen and encountered have been well behaved and well taken care of. I would rather have a homeless person have a dog than for that dog to be in a shelter or worse, be put down. And it’s not like homeless people breed the dogs, they most likely found them. There is such a high population of dogs in shelters and being euthanized everyday and it breaks my heart so if they have a chance of being LOVED than I’m all for it. And who says everyone in homes vaccinate their pet? Or teach them manners?
Post # 9
breatheandrelax: I stopped reading after $10,000 rabies shot. WHAT?!
Post # 10
I remember reading somewhere that in addition to providing companionship and love, pets also encourage the homeless to take better care of themselves.
I do agree with Speck_ that homelessness is the bigger issue. I’m very sorry you got bitten and yeah, it completely sucks that this person has no vaccination records or an address. But if they had an address, they wouldn’t be homeless in the first place.
Post # 11
I mean there are an abundance of homeless dogs… so why deny them the love that they get even if it is out on the streets with someone who is homeless? The other option would back at an overcrowded shelter and then euthanasia more then likely…. so no I don’t see an issue with it.
Does it stink thay they can’t properly care for the dog? Yes, but they are still getting love. In a shelter they would get care, not love and that’s all.
I also think that the dogs can mean more to homeless people. I mean that is literally there only.possession in the world basically. So yes, I think they do deserve to have an animal and a loving companion.
I think the bigger issue is homelessness for both animals and people. That’s a way bigger issue.
I’m sorry about your bad experience, but the likelihood of that dog having rabies is ridiculously slim. The whole experience and even your story has put things into perspective for me. Be grateful for what you have because many people don even have that.
Post # 12
Absolutely they should have pets. Often they are very well cared for animals. But I’m so sorry about your experience, I can certainly understand your point of view.
Post # 13
breatheandrelax: Many homeless people have dogs for safety because the sleep on the street out in the open where they can be subject to violent attacks or sexual assault from people. It seems like the guy stayed in contact with you while sleeping on the street! I’ve met so many housed pet owners who where jerks and no where near as responsible. The jerk in the penthouse of my building has two giant untrained king corso that lunge at people in the elevator. He’s smug about it and thinks it’s cute.
Sorry you where inconvenienced but comparing your issue to that of the person who lives vulnerable on the street, no I don’t think banning the homeless from having dogs is where society should put its energy. How about ending homelessness.
Post # 14
alamana: I came to this thread ready to simply reply, “no.” However, you’re thread is very eye opening and humbling. I appreciate the perspective.
Post # 15
breatheandrelax: That dog could have just as much been a stray, right? It’s sad when people or animals are homeless, but in response to people giving away their animals due to moving, new famil members, a million other vapid reasons, I have always said that I would live under a bridge before I would rehome my dogs or place them in a shelter. So God forbid anything happens to me where I can no longer afford a place to live, I would fight tooth and nail before anyone would be able to take my dogs away from me. If that a homeless person feels half as strongly about their dog as I do my dogs, it is probably the one thing that brings them hope/joy/companionship and doesn’t judge them. It would be a really sad day to take that away from them.
Of course, I feel really terrible for homeless dogss – I feel terrible for their homeless owners as well. I used to think maybe the dogs should be taken away. But then what? They go die in a shelter, alone? There is a homeless man who lives near our mall and he has a dog. My mom once offered to buy his dog from him because she felt really badly for the dog being homeless, but he refused (and it was not an insubstansial amount of money). He basically said, “lady, this dog has saved my life (turns out he has epilepsy) and stood by my side when I have had nothing. You couldn’t buy him for any amount of money in the world.” So she bought him some groceries and the dog a big bag of dog food.