Homeless Woman Wins Back Truck, Dogs By MATTHEW ARTZ

Friday June 10, 2005

The Berkeley homeless woman who last month asked the City Council for help has recovered her pick-up truck and two dogs taken from her in February. 

Friends of Elizabeth Gill raised roughly $1,500 to help the longtime homeless women recover her truck that had been impounded for unpaid parking tickets. With her truck returned, Gill also regained custody of her dogs from the Berkeley Animal Shelter where she had kept them while she was without permanent shelter. 

“I’ve known her for a while. She’s a lovely person,” said Andrea Pritchett, who raised $1,000 to get the vehicle out of Hustead’s tow lot. Councilmember Dona Spring said she raised an additional $450 to help Gill insure and re-register the truck. 

On Feb. 13, Gill parked her truck at the Berkeley Bowl and returned to find it lifted on to a tow truck while her two dogs were set to be carted off to the animal shelter. 

Because many of the parking fines she had accumulated dated back more than one year, Gill did not qualify for a program that allows motorists to work off parking tickets with community service. Without her truck, she said, she had no place for her dogs, which she chose to leave at the shelter. 

In April, the council directed city staff to waive $4,000 in boarding fees at the animal shelter and eliminate the one-year deadline for low-income people to work off their fines. The council also notified the Department of Motor Vehicles that the fines would be removed and promised to help the Gill find housing.›