Joseph Turner, Global Animal

(ANIMAL NEWS) PENNSYLVANIA— In the midst of financial woe, Pennsylvania’s capital city Harrisburg is considering allowing police officers to shoot stray dogs. As a cost-cutting measure, city officials reduced their yearly financial contribution to the local Humane Society by $50,000. Instead of directing strays toward shelters, the city of Harrisburg contemplates an inhumane alternative straight from China as a way to get strays off the streets.

A leaked police memo dated December 5th gives police officers three options on how to handle stray dogs: allow the caller reporting the stray to adopt the dog, allow the officer to adopt the dog, or take the dog to a safe area in order to release or kill the animal. Moreover, the memo allows police officers to kill stray dogs whom they think may be “vicious and a danger to the public and/or officers or if the animal is obviously sick.” The memo also instructs officers who haven opted to kill the dog to leave the body at a state Department of Agriculture loading dock.

Photo credit: danakosko/flickr

Concerned citizens have expressed outrage over the proposal.  Moreover, such an action would violate Pennsylvania law which requires strays to be held for at least 48 hours before a decision can be made to euthanize them. While Robert Philbin, a spokesman for the mayor of Harrisburg, says the city’s Bureau of Law is now redrafting the memo, Philbin says “the general directions and guidelines (of the December 5th memo) remain in play.”

Although the United States faces severe pet overpopulation, the city of Harrisburg’s proposal to kill stray dogs is not a sound remedy for reducing the number of stray pets. In order for a substantial reduction in the number of stray pets, more people need to thoughtfully consider whether or not they are committed to caring for a pet which will help curtail the number of strays and pets living in shelters. Moreover, an aggressive spay and neuter program and  shutting down puppy mills who often sell dogs to pet stores will spur more people to adopt from shelters. While Harrisburg’s neglect of strays stems from the city’s strained budget, alternative options such as pairing dogs with inmates and military veterans for rehabilitative and therapeutic purposes would provide social benefits.

Ultimately, the killing of strays articulated in the Harrisburg police memo goes against the growing animal compassion across the nation as concerned citizens have started a petition urging city officials to reconsider the killing of stray dogs.

Link to the petition:

More On Shelter Animals:

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  1. Absolutely horrific to even consider shooting an innocent stray animal. This is the kind of publicity PA does not want. This is the kind of act that causes people to not choose to live there and not contribute to that state. There are far more kind and safer ways of dealing with this challenge. Perhaps getting volunteers that don’t want this result to contribute ideas or implement a plan of action that does not involve an officer taking out a deadly weapon and using it on the streets of PA.

  2. its a shame what the world has come to.should we be suprised?they have no compassion for humans why would they consider caring about our extended family of animails?there is no place for love in the law, i have friends who have been threw this,their babies murdered right in front of them and their children.then they walk away and leave them to clean up their dirty work. really.this is a barbaric world we live in and its to far gone to stop it.unite,protect your selves and family and friends, its gonna get worse.shoot my fur baby mfers and hell commen with a vengence like no other.

  3. Well, suffice it to say that we lived in Central PA for 20 years and when I tried to get the city of Harrisburg to do something about the dog fighting, their answer was,”oh, we will be laying off police officers and so won’t be able to do anything about dog fighting in our city”! I realize our economy is bad now and maybe they did have to lay off police officers but do they really want to serve the public and keep them safe–I don’t think so! This is proof of what they are concerned about–saving money………. So, we need to get the needed sigs for this petition and someone needs to personally deliver it to the city of Harrisburg and let them know that we as animal lovers in this state are watching what they are doing!!!!!
    Please, share this petition with everyone you know and have them sign and pass it on to get the needed sigs so it can be delivered to the City of Harrisburg soon! We can’t allow this to happen to innocent animals and maybe someone’s four-legged friend if heaven forbid their dog gets away from them and this happens to their dog!!!! There has to be a way to get the humane society to help with them again even if it means they have to give less to them than normal—but that humane society was the one I told people about when we lived out there that had a vet that botched our lab’s neutering and he almost died from it! Please, animal lovers, share this petition–don’t let this happen to innocent animals just because they are strays!