This afternoon, as I stepped out of the Pacific Beach Library, I saw two police officers writing tickets for a group of homeless young people. One man was being cited for having his small dog – it looked like a long-haired, black and white chihuahua mix – off leash. The man argued with the police officer because he felt the officer had wrongly sought him out for harassment. He and his group of friends were hanging out on the library lawn, a place where a variety of people come to enjoy the sun. His dog was in his lap. I doubted that this man, with all his worldly possessions packed in a duffle bag, owned a leash. I wanted to go out and get one for him. I thought about bring it back with some dog treats and healthy people snacks. Worried that the police would get them to decamp before I came back, my thoughts did not turn into action.

Still the sight of the police officer standing over this young man unsettled me. Like everyone else, I want to live in a place that is beautiful and safe. I want to enjoy our amazing weather and natural resources with friends and family. I believe in the importance of having places to play and come together. But I want all this without having to send people or animals away. Other bloggers have commented on how police officers treat the homeless in Pacific Beach. While I started blogging just to make an observation on the dog-loving members in our community, a bigger question now nags at me. How can we maintain beauty and order without turning a blind eye to the messy aspects of community? How can we create neighborhood that makes room to respect everyone's needs?

Comments

thestoryteller June 30, 2010 @ 5:05 p.m.

I doubt the police officer would have cited you and I for an off-leash Chihuhua, I think he was trying to make camping out there difficult so the homeless will go somewhere else. It's a difficult situation. While I'm not without compassion for the homeless, I have to admit I can't stand to watch them lay around, dirty and under the influence. I don't think the public should have to tolerate their blighting the neighborhood.

You sound as if the police are the ones who are dangerous. As a rule, the homeless are not sweet, loving victims. Even some of the homeless will tell you that.

I've often thought that a remote park somewhere might be the answer. It would require security which may not be affordable, but at least it would be somewhere they could go, and not harass the public. In a fantasy world, maybe we should, as a society, take responsibility for them. Have some type of institution to keep them in where they get some kind of care and supervision. But I can only imagine the problems that would lead to. Most of them can't be controlled, that's why they are out on the street.

What is the answer? Well,I just don't believe that families should have to put up with being approached in parking lots, asked for change as they enter the grocery store, etc.

About a year ago, a lady was stabbed to death by a man with psychiatric issues in the parking lot of Toys R Us. She didn't say anything to him, he just walked up to her, took out a knife, and let him have it. Addicts and mentally ill people are dangerous. I guess the best answer for right now is to cite the Chihuahua.

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LosAltos50 June 30, 2010 @ 5:25 p.m.

Thank you for writing this. The topic is newsworthy and your dilemma comes through loud and clear. You might consider submitting this type of story as a stringer and getting paid for it- I am certain the Reader would have paid you for this as an article if it were edited for a news piece. Keep up the good work! We need more coverage in the beach area.

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nan shartel June 30, 2010 @ 5:48 p.m.

it's not going to be easy honey...but if u can find like minded community members who'd be willing to just visit with them..have casual conversation..thing may change with those few and u believe it or not

u could ask if the doggie has had his rabies shot...if not perhaps u could find the owner a place he can get one for a small fee or free

these people have no connections they r so hated and vilified...there's hardly anyone who doesn't like it when an interest is shown in their wee doggie

this is a difficult problem but please don't hardened ur heart

here's some hints that may help

http://www.archure.net/psychology/homeless.html

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LosAltos50 June 30, 2010 @ 7:31 p.m.

nan- even though I am allergic to dogs (and cats) you got me motivated and this came up on google--- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Feeding-Pets-of-the-Homeless/261756825117?ref=ts%20%20%20%20%20http://www.petsofhomeless.com/

This would be a good lead for the author to follow. My church runs an outreach program for beach homeless people - basic nursing care, clothing, toiletries, some canned foods. And a place where people show care and compassion. It's located off Jewell in the alley by the PB Presbyterian Church.

I volunteered there one year and my husband has helped out with some of the collections of donated goods. I am sure you know some homeless do not want to "mainstream", some really are down on their luck and some have severe mental problems that require intense medication.

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nan shartel July 1, 2010 @ 3:19 p.m.

one must wonder about a person with little or no food of his/her own sharing it with a downtrodden pet..is this not "do unto ur doggie friend" in motion

blessings LosAltos50

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ecraig April 3, 2011 @ 1:15 p.m.

Honestly, When was the last time one of you was "harassed" by a homeless person? It is upsetting that people can make such comments without educating themselves first. It is understood that over 60% of the homeless population has a mental illness- which has largely been proven by scientific, evidence-based research, is genetic.

If you can consider a child living life with cystic fibrosis, they are as much a victim of illness as a homeless adult living with schizophrenia, addiction, or bipolar disorder. These illnesses prohibit these individuals to live a normal life, get a normal job, utilize the resources that many of them are unaware of. Homeless people are rarely violent and dangerous parts of the community, though are scrunitized as being so.

I personally have not seen homeless people in my community being harassed by police, though I would not doubt it happens more often than in necessary. Going back to the original article- It is honestly almost funny that a police officer would write a ticket for a homeless person with a dog off the leash. Does the officer really think that person is going to pay the ticket or change his/her behavior? What was the intention there?

Maybe if members of our communities educated themselves about the homeless and cared enough to change the situation, homeless people would have to opportunity to become people who were responsible members of society.

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SurfPuppy619 April 3, 2011 @ 1:33 p.m.

How can we maintain beauty and order without turning a blind eye to the messy aspects of community? How can we create neighborhood that makes room to respect everyone's needs?

Excellent commentary.

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PartyTime April 9, 2011 @ 2:06 p.m.

DOG OWNERS AT KATE SESSIONS NEED TO KEEP THEIR DOGS ON A LEASH

I'D LIKE TO SAY THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO SMALL DOGS BUT I WON'T

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