What’s Up With San Francisco’s Dog Safety Net?

For the second time in as many months we’ve been confronted with the possibility of a dog being abandoned at Pet Camp. This kind of stuff hasn’t happened since the first dot-com boom in the late 1990s (so be aware, San Francisco City planners, if you think the current boom is going to last forever too – but I digress). You may recall that last time it was a pit named Romeo who, after being taken to San Francisco Animal Care & Control (ACC), was retrieved by a young woman who then was unable, at least according to her, to get any rescue groups to assist her – we are pleased to report that Romeo is now happily living at one of our manager’s homes (it was meant to be only temporary but it looks mighty permanent).

Last week we were confronted by a 2-year-old German Shepard who belongs to someone who was living in supportive housing at Swords to Plowshares. This gentleman first brought his dog to San Francisco ACC, then failed to come back and get him, and then on the day the dog was to be put to sleep he returned to ACC to pick up his dog and came to Pet Camp for what was to be a single night.

Making it even more complicated, the dog’s behavior is unpredictable and can’t be reliably handled by anyone except his parent. The pet parent is a veteran who has problems but really needs his dog.

Well, 23 days after the dog was scheduled to depart, we were dealing with ACC, a social worker at Swords to Plowshares, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing Opportunity, Partnership and Engagement (HOPE) — the head of which, Bevan Dufty at 415-554-5646, still hasn’t returned our calls from last week — the owner of the dog, and, frankly, a mess. We are thrilled that the pet parent finally returned to Pet Camp to pick up his dog rather than abandoning it; but we still don’t know where this dog will end up or how this person will be able to take care of the dog or even why the person and the dog weren’t able to stay together to start.

Where is the safety net for people facing issues that happen to share their lives with dogs? Can San Francisco, a city that spends copious amounts of money addressing a homeless problem that never seems to lessen, really think that separating people from their dogs will help them get back on their feet (the humans that is)? To those San Francisco City leaders involved with human and dog safety net issues, we say FIX IT!

Thanks for reading.