Animal Rights

Animal Rights Robot Accused of Cruelty to Homeless People

Activists have been accused of being cruel to humans by letting their robotic guard dog loose on homeless people.

The robot, called K5, repeatedly harassed the rough sleepers outside an animal rights HQ in America, it is claimed.

Now the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in San Francisco has been attacked over its double standards.

It has been accused of “people cruelty.”

The animal shelter hired the K5 robot built by Knightscope to patrol the pavements outside its facilities.

It said it was deployed to deal with car break-ins and other crime linked with a nearby tent encampment of homeless people.

K5 is equipped with four cameras and moves at three miles per hour and is cheaper than a human security guard — costing around $6 an hour to rent.

But the move backfired badly when people complained the robot was ushering people off the pavement and effectively harassing them.

The same model of robot caused controversy when it was accused of knocking over a toddler in Washington DC.

Knightscope said its robots are intended as deterrents and for providing mobile surveillance.

But reaction on social media to the rights group using the robot has been negative with people shaming the SPCA for deploying the machine.

San Francisco City Council has taken a similar view and  ordered the SPCA to keep its robot off the streets or be fined up to £750 a day for operating on sidewalks without a permit.

According to the SPCA people have also attacked the robot by placing a tarpaulin over it,  knocking it over and putting barbecue sauce on all of its sensors.

A spokesman for Knightscope said the robot was brought in to protect the SCPA but not specifically to round up homeless people.

He said: “K5 was not brought in to clear the area around the SF SPCA of homeless individuals.

“It was deployed to serve and protect the SPCA.

“The SCPA has the right to protect its property, employees and visitors, and Knightscope is dedicated to helping them achieve this goal.

“The SPCA has reported fewer car break-ins and overall improved safety and quality of the surrounding area.”

Photo: Knightscope

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