Hello, there. Thank you for reading this.
I am trying to generate a national outcry about the fact that in the capital city of my state, Harrisburg, PA, a Dec. 5 official memo has instructed police officers kill, dump and abandon, or personally adopt stray or distressed animals that residents report to the police. The mayor of the city, Linda Thompson, and her spokesperson, Robert Philbin, had previously denied publicly that the memo was in effect; today they admitted that it is still in force. The city cannot or will not make financial arrangements with the Humane Society of Greater Harrisburg, Inc. so that they can safely and humanely retrieve, shelter and if necessary euthanize animals. This disgrace and outrage should concern residents nationwide who rely on police for help and those who love animals. This memo imposes an unfair and unsafe burden and a terrible choice on police inexperienced with animals. It also takes scarce police resources from dealing with crime. What other bankrupt states or cities are handling their excess animal population this way? Above are some local links to the this story. It has only been reported on local public radio, newspaper and TV--but this is scandal that should be reported nationally! I am hoping for three things:
1. Donations and adoption requests to pour into the Humane Society of Greater Harrisburg http://www.facebook.com/petpardons/posts/169281879838602#!/pages/Humane-Society-of-Harrisburg-Area/59262927478 http://www.humanesocietyhbg.org/
2. Pressure to be put on the Mayor's Office of Harrisburg, by mail or phone http://harrisburgpa.gov/about/ or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Harrisburg-PA/73637113187, to make immediate financial arrangements with the Humane Society so that they can do their job of helping animals, AND rescind this terrible memo and the burden it places on police officers.
-- In our communications with organizations, media and loved ones I suggest stressing the following angles:
1. What terrible measures this recession is forcing on city officials and police (whose numbers, benefits, rights and have already been gutted) to the point where they must order officers to cause or ignore animal suffering or take personal responsibility for adopting out every stray or lost animal they find;
2. The fact that these instructions violate state laws on animal cruelty, according to a gubernatorial aide (see link above), so law officers are being told to break the law;
3. The fact that this policy will be burdening police officers with the determination of whether an animal is dangerous, sick, suffering, lost, diseased or injured and how to deal with it. Most police have no training and no experience in safely retrieving or humanely killing animals. Think what could happen to a child in the area near a frightened or hurt dog or cat if it is cornered clumsily, or if a bullet meant to kill an animal goes astray.
4. The legal and financial implications that would hit the city (already in bankruptcy!) and/or individual officers if a lawsuit is brought due to a person killed or injured--or property destroyed, including animals--as a result of accidental or clumsy actions at the behest of this memo.
5. The fact that there is no direction given in this memo to try to reunite animals with their owners, including guide dogs or others who depend on guide animals. Therefore this policy decreases the chance of animals finding homes and classifies all lost animals as strays who can be killed or dumped elsewhere. Furthermore, this policy could actually increase the number of stray animals (because lost animals will merely be dumped elsewhere) and strays can be dangerous to people. This policy also deprives people of their property illegally.
6. The terrible fear, injury and suffering that will animals will experience as they are inexpertly manhandled, cornered, captured grabbed and/or shot.
7. The mental stress and emotional trauma forced on police officers as they must increase the suffering of animals (through ignoring and abandoning) or kill animals.
8. The fact that these instructions take already scarce police attention away from true crimes that impact human beings.
Thank you so much for your time, caring, attention, and service to animals.