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Homeless People & Owning Pets

What do you think about it?

1 - 10 of 31 posts   1 | 2 | 3 | 4  

tonijosephine tonijosephine VIC Posts: 80
1 25 Mar 2012
I was out for a friend's birthday last night, we were walking from one bar to another when I saw a precious little dog sleeping soundly amidst the busy CBD of Melbourne, next to a homeless woman. She had an array of signs like "Please help me and my dog get off the streets" etc.

Initially, I found something comforting in the fact that these two souls had found each other in their dire situations, but the more I asked this woman about her dog Roxy, the angier I got. At first the dog was just old, clearly blind in one eye. Then the dog had a lump in her stomach. Then she had a cancerous lump on her neck...and then another cancerous mole on her neck! The story just became more unbelievable as time went on - telling me she'd spent 2 grand on vet bills. I said goodbye to Roxy and walked away furious. This woman was clearly exploiting the dog for sympathy and more spare change. The dog appeared well-looked after - but I just couldn't handle how this dog was being exploited, forced to sleep on a pillow on the streets of Melbourne so this woman could squeeze a few more dollars out of other people's pockets.

And I'm not saying anyone deserves to be homeless, or that I don't care about the issue - but if you cannot take care of yourself you cannot take care of an animal. I think there should be people taking dogs from the streets - whether they're 'owned' or not and rehoming them. I know homeless/dogs on death row are already an issue, and to some extent this "Roxy" was being cared for, but I'm just saying, I don't think it's right.....

..1 ..1 TAS Posts: 2265
2 25 Mar 2012
Dogs owned by homeless people are usually the most happy and balanced dogs in the world. They get up first thing every morning and move around to look for food, like they would in the wild, whereas a lot of pet dogs spend their days on a couch, going for a walk once a week. That's not natural, and that's where behaviour problems begin. You'll find that a homeless dog will rarely lunge and bark and growl at other people or dogs, or pull their owner down the street. A homeless dog won't even walk in front of their owner.

However, because homeless people cannot afford to look after a dog, the dog can suffer. My dog, Mr Fox, was owned and abandoned by a homeless person. We found him with mats in his fur, extremely underweight, and absolutely riddled with fleas. Rumour has it that Fox spent his days tied to a tree, getting a loaf of bread given to him once a week for food. So while the homeless lifestyle can be ideal for some dogs, it does depend on the responsibility of the owner. Even homeless people need to provide for their dogs. Mr Fox and Roxy are examples of dogs that had irresponsible homeless owners.

tonijosephine tonijosephine VIC Posts: 80
3 25 Mar 2012
Awh well Mr. Fox sounds very lucky to have found you! This dog Roxy did most definitely have behavioural issues - she had the temperament of a Chihuahua and after being semi-attacked twice (it took two times for me to get the hint because she was oh-so-cute and I'd had a couple of glasses of wine.)

I think it's easy to say that homeless dogs have better lives than those of lazy pet owner' be honest i have a distaste towards lazy pet owners also. They shouldn't be allowed to own pets. But my golden retrievers, who have an acre to run around on, who go for regular walks, who have a lovely, safe environment to sleep in and have food provided for them most definitely have a better life. A dog owned by a homeless person won't go out and hunt....what could they hunt in the city and years of being domesticated mean hunting isn't really a huge part of their make up (some breeds more than others of course) any longer - and probably end up eating people's left overs in garbage. Whilst they may have a close connection with whoever is looking after them, a street is no place for a person nor a domestic animal. My problem lays in that statement, and the fact that I've seen a few people exploiting their 'pet' for spare change.

Kirrilly Kirrilly VIC Posts: 2092
4 25 Mar 2012
There are good pet owners and bad pet owners, just as there are homeless people that take care of their pets and those that don't. I think it's unfair to lump all homeless people into one group, as they're still people with their own personalities, priorities and values.

A dog is not the same as a child, in that its safety and well-being is not dependent on regular routine. A healthy, loving and trusting relationship with its owner is vital however. In my opinion, as long as the person is providing that relationship, as well as enough food & warmth, I really don't care whether the dog is there to get sympathy or not. It's one more dog that is not going to death row.

OinkMoo OinkMoo NSW Posts: 1340
5 26 Mar 2012
I dont agree with homeless people owning animals, think about it: if a homeless person barely struggles to get money for them selves how can they provide the animal with a well balenced diet, supply fresh water, provide flea and tick treatment, worm the animals regualarly and keep up to date with vaccinations? And lets not forget the costs of de-sexing and microchipping.

I dont live in the city or town but when i do go to town and i see the homeless with a animal 98% of the time the poor thing is skinny, matted and has over grown nails - this is no life for the animal! How could any1 thing this is okay?! Esp animal Lovers

Beemo Beemo United States Posts: 1259
6 26 Mar 2012
I say that a lot of homeless people's hearts are in the right place when it comes to looking after their pets, but providing proper care for any animal comes at a cost, which unfortunately many homeless people would struggle to meet.
If someone can barely provide for themselves, then I struggle to see how they can meet all the needs of an animal.
I don't doubt that many homeless people's pets are well natured and happy, but they will be lacking care in other areas which are required for good health (i.e. vaccinations, worming, fresh food and water, annual vet checks etc).

Though in saying that, I don't really see anything that can be done about it. You take an animal away from their homeless owner and both the dog and the person will be upset. Then where does the dog go? Unless there is someone willing to adopt the animal then it will end up in the pound which in my opinion is worse than living on the streets.
While life on the streets is not ideal for a dog, they could be worse off.
EDIT: In cases where a dog is in poor health, if possible it should be given medical treatment and re-homed.

4_da_animals1 4_da_animals1 SA Posts: 3293
7 26 Mar 2012
I don't think it's anyone's business whether the people owning the dog are homeless or not, if the dog is treated well then I have no issue.
Speaking from experience, it can be really hard being homeless, obviously, but what I mean is it takes a real toll, not just physically but mentally.If having a companion helps them get through another day just that bit happier, then that's a really good thing.
I feel sorry for that woman you speak of. The fact that she has to go to that length to try and get money speaks for itself. I wouldn't be mad at her, just sorry for her.
That being said, I try not to  show how sorry I feel for homeless people because for some who are in that situation, it can be really condescending.
I don't give money to homeless people, I will however, buy them something they might need and give it to them, that way you know the money is going for the right thing, rather than booze or drugs. If they had a dog, it would be good to buy the dog some food, eg dry food, that could last awhile. There are centers and places homeless people can go for for support when it comes to food, where the charity/organisation will give you bags of food when you need it. So there is not reason for the dog or animal to be neglected in any way.
If you think about it, pets owned by homeless people would be more valued than by almost any other owner, because the pet would be all they have.
edit: im talking about in australia. and Australia everyone in town/city area has access to fresh water, so water shouldn't be an issue either.

Kacey Michelle Kacey Michelle NSW Posts: 92
8 26 Mar 2012
I agree with 4_da_animals. Although it isn't ideal to use the dog for sympathy, you have to do what you can to help yourself survive. And that is what homeless people usually do have to do. Until you really know the life story behind the woman, the dog, and so on I don't think you can judge. Assuming it's an old dog, with cancers and so on, the truth is, even if she turned the pup into a pound they'd most likely just put it down anyway.

tonijosephine tonijosephine VIC Posts: 80
9 26 Mar 2012
For the record, I'm by no means having a go at homeless people as a whole, and my heart goes out to them. It's just the number of people I've seen utilising their dog as a sympathy vote. I completely agree with what Kirrilly, that is "It's one more dog that is not going to death row." Apologies if you think I was generalising, I'm by no means lumping the impoverish minority into the same boat here.

It's obvious, like in most cases, dogs offer a source of companionship. As I said, initially I was happy for the pair that had found one another. And to summarise what OinkMoo said, if you cannot provide properly for yourself how are you to provide properly for your pet. Fundementally that is the issue. I'm not saying their hearts aren't in the right place or that they're evil people - it just is a cringe worthy issue for me.

My point was, in a perfect world, I think there should be a program in place dedicated to rehoming these dogs. It's completely evident, that dogs are also perfectly capable of loving their abusers!!! Whether these people have a heart of gold or not, not being fit to look after themself and in turn their pet just isn't right in my eyes.

That was my point. I pity these people & their animals - I was just wondering how many people felt the same way. I was not judging this woman for being homeless, just analysing the position this animal was in.

Jacqui T Jacqui T NSW Posts: 796
10 26 Mar 2012
There are many homeless people who have pets, usually its their only friend in life. It is very scary however, that these people will give their only food of their day in the soup kitchen to their pet, thus themselves going without.

The RSPCA NSW has just brought out a program called Living Ruff, the RSPCA  donates pet food to soup kitchens, so both get a meal and will vet check, vaccinate, microchip and desex their animals for free. This program isn't really that well known, but I think its really important.

If I see a homeless person with a pet, I will ask if they will be in the same place tomorrow and if they say yes, I will bring in blankets, food, toys, bowls etc. for their dogs. Of course I'll bring something in for the person too. Usually I don't give others money but it doesn't hurt to see if the person would like something for lunch or at least a bottle of water.

You can't help if they have pets or not, whether you agree with them keeping their pet or not. But you can help out. I find it much more efficient than questioning if its ethical or not.

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