SAN FRANCISCO – In San Francisco (search), pet owners are pet guardians, animals up for adoption live in pet condos, and now there are canine housing codes.
"If they are going to get an animal and have them live in the backyard, this ordinance will provide certain requirements that a dog has to have — shelter, food water, exercise," said Carl Friedman, director of San Francisco Animal Care and Control.
Specifically, food must be healthy, water must be clean and in a non-tipping bowls and shelter must be size appropriate: roomy enough for the dog to stand up in and with a soft pad inside to keep the animal warm and dry. The temperature shouldn't fall below that to which the dog is acclimated.
"It's amazing, this is a city that wants to keep government out of the bedroom but they can't keep it out of the doghouse," said San Francisco Chronicle writer Debra Saunders.
Saunders said the city's 11,000 dogs are getting a better deal than the city's thousands of impoverished citizens.
"We do have a homeless problem yet here they are worried about if somebody's doghouse is big enough or if they use the right bowls to feed the dogs," she said. "It makes them look like they always look — ridiculous."
But Friedman takes issue with critics who say attention should be turned to other "real" problems in the world, particularly with such devastating occurrences such as the recent tsunami (search) that devastated Indian Ocean nations.
"We've got every problem in the world," he said, "Well, what should I do? Forget about this at all until we solve our other problems? Then nothing will happen."
And Friedman said measures have to be taken to prevent tragedies such as what happened when one dog, which had no water or food, dug a hole in the ground to escape the rain. Many pet lovers applaud the law and are glad to see their city uphold the values of its namesake — the Patron Saint of Animals.
Click on the video box above for a complete report by FOX News' Claudia Cowan.