This page is run by Ward 9: the Homeless Neighbors Association.
- Dogs are not just a luxury for those of us in the worst poverty. Dogs are a means of survival for many, especially those living unhoused. Having dogs provides security for many, especially women, trans and gender non-conforming folks, and people of color living on the streets who are likely to be targeted for violence. Many unhoused and formerly unhoused people can recount times when having a dog saved their life.
- Dogs provide accessibility for many. Disabled people in poverty, many of whom are unhoused, are aided in their independence by companion animals. Likewise, those who suffer from emotional or mental challenges benefit immensely by having a pet as a support animal. Unfortunately, having a dog legally recognized as a support animal is much harder for unhoused disabled people, but that does not diminish their need for their dog. The dog ban makes downtown unaccessible for poor people with disabilities.
- The dog ban is cruel. Whether housed or unhoused, people have long-term relationships with their dogs that should be respected if the dog is not causing trouble. To suddenly impose a sweeping ban is unfair and harmful to those already most vulnerable. Further, the dog-ban is forcing many to leave their dogs somewhere, sometimes without someone watching, because the owner needs to go downtown for everyday survival.
- The dog ban is an international embarrassment. It’s not often Eugene, Oregon is mentioned in the international press, but we were just recently by the Guardian. The UK based newspaper with readership around the globe noted the dog ban’s disproportionate effect on unhoused people. OPB.org also published an article with the headline: “For Some Homeless Oregonians, Dogs Are More Than A Luxury.” If the city is trying to improve Eugene’s image, why are they making us infamous for the cruel and unusual treatment of our poorest residents?
- What are the real values of our city government? We have already seen countless pieces of city legislation, some just proposed and some implemented, which seem to target unhoused and poor people downtown. Targeting the unhoused is part of a larger trend of gentrification which is increasingly hurting more and more working and poor people in Eugene.