The doghouse isn't such a bad place when it's really a furnished room with a skylight, television and art on the walls.
That's why the agency that runs a new pound with those amenities is offering to open its doors to about a dozen homeless people, who aren't likely to find such luxurious digs."This just seemed like another thing we could do," said Richard Avanzino, director of the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Someone can come here if they want to get off the streets for the night, and the dogs get something they need: human companionship."
Avanzino said Thursday at least one social service agency was considering his idea.
The pound wouldn't provide meals, showers, clothing or counseling for its human tenants - just a warm place to sleep. But it's quite a place.
The $7 million Maddie's Pet Adoption Center, named after the dog of a benefactor, opened a month ago.
Along with the TV and art in each dog's "apartment," the rooms are soundproof, and special ventilation systems keep odors to a minimum. Avan-zi-no wants to set up cots in about a dozen apartments and let homeless people stay between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Critics called the idea well-intentioned but misguided because it diminishes the seriousness of the problems homeless people have.
"This was not something that was set up for and designed for people. It was built for animals," said Paul Boden, director of the Coalition on Homelessness. "It just turned out that this facility is better set up than anything we're setting up for people."
Avanzino said he's just trying to help. "This isn't for everybody. We're not for 2,000 people," he said. "But this could be a real option for a dozen people."