Bankrupt Harrisburg Trying to Find a Solution to Stray Dog Issue

Harrisburg PA Police Officer Hawkins posing with his partner K9 Reno

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Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is basically bankrupt and the Humane Society that is supposed to be caring for the city’s stray and loose dogs refuses to talk. Not only do they refuse to talk but the estimated 60 dogs a month they are supposed to be taking in is more like 30 according to the Humane Society itself while city officials claim that on average only 7 dogs are brought to the facility each month. With a contract and fees determined by the amount of animals brought to their care by the city it is only fair that the city be shown records and proof that all of these animals are delivered to their door. Which till this point is being ignored by the Humane Society.

According to the Humane Society’s nonprofit tax filings, the group collects more than $2 million a year, has a budget of $1.9 million and more than $2.5 million in assets. Kaunas the Executive Director collects $89,750 in salary and other compensation.Yet when asked why they continue to refuse animals turned in by the city Kuanas says it is a new year and a new contract needs to be in place. Then why did this problem start in October? Yes the Society was owned money by the city which they eventually found money to pay for services they believed would continue until the Spring. The problemis the city is effectively bankrupt but isn’t being allowed to claim bankruptcy. Making the payment was a very big deal only to be told they would need to pay another $10,000 if they would like to bring more animals to the shelter.

From information gathered around the web the Humane Society of Harrisburg is refusing almost all animals brought to them for care and housing while temperatures continue to plummet. Then again the Humane Society asked why the city doesn’t find other accommodations for stray animals instead of relying on the Humane Society for help. That alone tells me that the Humane Society just does not care anymore. They do not want to take in more animals or help those animals in need this winter find a warm place to sleep. Clearly a massive overhaul needs to occur if the city they receive their funding from and the people who give them donations in order to help the animals are not being serviced where is all of that money going?  If they are taking in 30 animals a month that comes to over $330 to care for each animal before the budget can be approved in February. Even if they take in 60 animals that means they are spending over $166 dollars per animals when food, treats, bedding, and flea and tick medication is donated.

The only good news is that according to police, city officials, the police chief, and the agriculture department not a single dog has been killed in fact the police are doing everything possible to get the stray dogs they do pick up off the streets somewhere warm be it their house, calling in rescue organizations, or friends of friends. To take it a step further according to police and rescues in the area the police officers most of whom care about the well-being of animals are not taking them into the woods and dumping them. Even the small rescues which are now overflowing because they are having to take in the animals that should be going to the Humane Society are praising the police for the work they are doing during an impossible situation. Word from around the area is that the Chief of Police said any officer that shoots a dog will be investigated and possibly fired.

The city is currently working on rewording the memo about what police should do with stray animals and the hope of the city and the police department is that by this afternoon a solution to housing stray dogs will be found. The city needs a licensed kennel to care for the dogs picked up off the street for at least 48 hours which is mandatory according to state law. Bankrupt Leaving a bankrupt Harrisburg trying to find an emergency solution to their stray dog issue.

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  1. Felissa, the Humane Society and Harrisburg had a contract, and Harrisburg didn’t make the payments. They eventually paid the back sum owed–very late–but the Humane Society chose not to continue the contract going forward on a basis of “we hope you’ll pay us eventually.” They, yes, wanted their money up front, because the Humane Society doesn’t operate on wishes and good hopes, either.

    You don’t mention the fact that Harrisburg has ordered the police, when they respond to a stray dog call, to ask the person who called it in if they want to keep the dog. If they don’t, the officer gets to decided if he wants to keep the dog. If the dog appears to be sick or aggressive, the officer is to shoot the dog. And if the dog is not sick or aggressive, and neither the caller nor the officer wants to keep it, the officer is to put the dog in the prisoner van and drive it out into the woods and abandon it.

    It’s commendable that the officers are apparently refusing to obey that order, but it’s the city of Harrisburg, not the Humane Society, that issued it.

    Cities that don’t pay their bills and that order that officers make zero effort to return lost dogs to their owners but instead, if they don’t want the dog for themselves, kill it on the spot or abandon it in the woods, are in no position to claim the moral high ground over an organization that merely terminated a contract when they concluded the other party was not meeting the terms reliably.

    • Actually the Humane Society is claiming that the city is sending over 4 times the amount of dogs the city says they are bringing there. The city have asked for records of the dogs taken in and the Humane Society refuses to provide them. The price the city pays is determined by the amount of dogs they bring in so if representatives of the city are bringing dogs there but not recording it and the Humane Society can prove it then shouldn’t they just pull out the intake paperwork and prove this is why they need so much money? It seems that every time the Executive Director of the Humane Society has been interviewed it has all been about money but she is not willing to show anyone paperwork as to why she believes the city should be paying so much. She is making the organization seem to be out for the money and not to help dogs in need.

      Also this memo was a month old meaning the Humane Society decided to not allow any more animals in last month before the new year even started.

  2. Felissa, you are accepting as gospel the word of people who think it’s reasonable to order that zero attempt be made to contact the owner, and that dogs be intentionally dumped in the woods far from where they were found and left to fend for themselves.

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