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Discussion: Should Homeless People Be Allowed To Have Pets?

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It’s a familiar sight – homeless people with a dog or cat, sharing their food and sometimes helping their owners work the city for food or money.

Kristen Mayer with End Dogfighting in Detroit and Michelle Way with World Animal Awareness Society (WA2S), tell three stories of homeless people who reside in the city of Detroit and keep dogs as pets – all in very different situations. They deliver food to both the people and the dogs they visit.

Meet a man who calls himself “Dog Man” (because he always has a dog around), and one of his companions named Lucky. They work the streets to stay alive.

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Dog Man stays somewhere different every night.

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Jerry is a man who cares for several dogs, including a pregnant female. He says he will just give away the puppies when they are born – but assures they won’t go to anyone who fights them.

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Then there is Tee. She bred Queenie, who had a litter of puppies. Only 4 of 13 lived.

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When Queenie gave birth, Tee didn’t know until the babies were found in a basement. Some of the puppies were stolen by neighborhood kids and then brought back – but died soon after. The survivors included one who was sold to a neighbor and two who were given to the owner of the puppies’ father. The two that remained received Parvo shots; one died, one lived.

The following video highlights the stories of these people and their dogs:

The Michigan Humane Society explains that if they take a dog away from a homeless person, they will just get another one. Rescues and volunteers make it easy for them to keep the dogs by dropping off food all the time. The Humane Society says they have “just as much right as anyone else to have a dog,” as long as they care for it.

There’s no doubt these dogs provide companionship and love to people who live a very lonely and cold life. But is it fair to expect rescues and shelters to support these dogs that could be placed into loving families who can afford vet and food bills?

We want to hear from you: Should homeless people be allowed to have pets?

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