Thursday, June 1, 2017

Panhandling With Pets- Making More Money and More Headache

Image from Roanoke Check Point Facebook Page
The debate about whether or not it's a good idea to give money to panhandlers was sparked anew this week in Roanoke. First, as the Roanoke Check Points Facebook Group reported, one of the most well known and aggressive panhandlers was out with a puppy that she recently purchased, Cheryl.

That post by one of the Roanoke Check Point members created a outpouring of people on that group as well as our group about panhandlers and using (or abusing) animals in order to gain more sympathy for cold hard cash.

Across the United States, those that panhandle with a pet are often likely to make more money to the uneducated that pass by them. Studies from Time magazine in New York city found that panhandlers can make $400 per hour vs. an average of $25 an hour without a pet.

Sure, there are other factors such as location, time of day, the amount of repeated exposure to that location, weather and other factors that play into the amount of money that someone can receive with a pet.

Perhaps more importantly and in this case this week, the panhandler didn't take into account the adverse effects of the animal.

Many people posted on the Checkpoint page about animal cruelty, being in the heat or on a median for hours on end, sometimes being in the bushes in a portable cage, hiding from traffic.

Some people simply complained that this panhandler could afford (someone posted $450 she paid for the puppy; another said $500) and if they could afford a pure breed dog then they certainly didn't need money to live off of. Many people became angry over that.

Additionally, a few people found it ironic that after a couple of days out with the dog, she suddenly left it at home the next day out on route 419. The irony here is that the 'homeless' woman left the dog at 'home'.  Again, that stated from a couple of people on social media.  Over the last couple of days she has laid low and has not brought the puppy with her.

Again, we are not saying these thing, all this comes from what other people have stated or posted, outside of our panhandling group.

The question remains here in the Roanoke Valley, should you be allowed to use a pet to panhandle for money?

Free Speech vs. Cruelty 

While the debate over free speech is covered to those that are asking for a handout continue in the United States, many over the last few days have sparked a newfound interest in the debate and are now saying that the freedom of speech is being taken too far with animal cruelty.

Does having an animal with a panhandler mean the animal is being treated in a good way?

What does that show the community if that person is toting around a pure breed puppy and then talks about it on social media?

Some people have stated that having a small animal such as the puppy on the streets was cruel because of the heat, exposure to constant vehicles going by and the noise of the cars and trucks.

In either case, having an animal and asking for money on the side of the street does put a large amount of exposure to the person asking for money year after year like Cheryl has been doing.

Good or bad, the exposure that she she created with the puppy has pushed the Roanoke panhandling debate back into the spotlight this week.

Aggressive Panhandling 

In general, aggressive panhandling is a solicitation made in person for immediate donation of money or other gratuity. This may be done by vocal appeal (asking, requesting, coercing (badgering), sympathy appeals, harassment, threats, or demands) or by nonvocal appeal (usage of signs or other signals gestures, postures, children, animals, or props such as toys and musical instruments).

It is a habitual manipulative, coercive, or intimidatory use of another individual's sympathy, fear, guilt, or insecurity for monetary gain. Also, it is a form of emotional and financial abuse.

While the federal court recently deemed panhandling legal through an act of 'freedom of speech' many areas are able to deal with it legally in other methods. Roanoke still has yet to make any immediate determination on how to deal with the panhandling issue, however there has been a huge increase in panhandling in the summer of 2016 when the ruling was made.

While it's legal to "protest" via "freedom of speech", lying about why you are out there is immoral and should be illegal.

The BEST thing that you can do is to simply not give them money. 

The NEXT BEST thing you can do is to educate everyone you know about the issue here in Roanoke and to get them to also stop handing out cash. 

If the cash flow stops, people will stop panhandling for cash here in the Roanoke Valley.


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