Canine Rights

Shocking Police Memo Instructs Officers to Kill and Dump Strays

A shocking memo written by Police Captain Annette Books of the Harrisburg, PA police department was apparently leaked to the public, outlining how officers should handle stray dog encounters in their jurisdiction. Read more of this outrageous and shocking memo that instructs officers to kill and dump stray dogs below, in an article from LifeWithDogs.

Shocking Police Memo Instructs Officers to Kill and Dump Strays

Pet owners in the Harrisburg, PA area are being urged to keep their animals secure after a disturbing police memo from Police Captain Annette Books was published in the Philly Inquirer.

Because the city of Harrisburg has not yet renewed its animal control contract, the police department has come up with its own solutions for dealing with strays. In a memo obtained by the Inquirer, Harrisburg Police Capt. Annette Books authorized the shooting of animals deemed unhealthy or threatening.

If the animal is vicious and a danger to the public and/or officers, or if the animal is obviously sick, injured or suffering the animal may be destroyed in as safe a manner as possible. The animal will then be taken to the Agriculture Bldg. (near the loading dock area) on Cameron St. for disposal.

Animals who survive that critical screening process are not in the clear – in fact, if the officers are unable to adopt the animals themselves, or locate a potential adopter, Capt. Books suggests dumping them in a remote location.

If the animal is determined to be a “found” animal, the officer can ask the complainant if they want to keep the animal or if they know someone who will adopt the animal, or the officer can adopt the animal for himself/herself, or the officer can place the animal in a prisoner van and release it to an area where it will be safe for the animal.

A member of the Governor’s Dog Law Advisory Board has made it clear that abandonment of animals violates the state’s existing cruelty laws, and that releasing domestic animals into the wild is against PA game laws.

A city spokesman has said that it’s unlikely the city will renew its contract until February. With that in mind, for the next few weeks, area residents should be vigilant in their efforts keep pets contained and safe – it could be a matter of life and death.

Kris Baker, a Harrisburg resident and volunteer for the Central Pennsylvania Animal Alliance, says the rescue group is inundated with unwanted animals as area non-profits scramble to pick up strays before they are killed or dumped in remote locations. “We are in a crisis here in the capital city of Pennsylvania,” she said.

Fearing for the safety of her own pets should they escape for any reason, Baker has started a Facebook petition campaign to Stop the Shooting of Dogs in Harrisburg. Learn more at:

One of the most troubling aspects of the aforementioned memo is not the actual authorization to use deadly force, or the suggestions to ‘creatively rehome’ strays. Captain Books goes on to suggest that officers should lie to those who report missing animals:

If you choose to adopt the animal yourself or release it in a safe environment, DO NOT inform the complainant of your intentions.

Read more from LifeWithDogs here. While I realize that not everyone loves dogs like we do at The Dogington Post, I can’t imagine that the entire police force under Capt. Books command is in agreement with these policies. And, I imagine the public’s response is less than enthusiastic. What do you think about the shocking memo that instructs officers to kill and dump strays? Are you as appalled as I am? Tell us about it below!



  1. MK Cuthbert

    Oct 27, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS. The link to the petition page is not working. I’ve looked for it independently and CANNOT find it. PLEASE direct us successfully to the petition so that we may successfully STOP what is deceptive and is basically slaughter. TOO many people VALUE and advocate for Americas best friend, her dogs, to allow a municipality to be so destructive, lazy and INHUMANE. Harrisburg , PA should hear from the rest of the US concerning this. I highly doubt the taxpayers of Harrisburg , *if* they knew about this inhumanity, would support this. THE CHIEF should lose her position!

    • Cindy

      Oct 30, 2014 at 12:15 am

      The link does not work because this happened TWO years ago. It has since been resolved. Some follow-up research will show you that.

  2. Stephen

    Nov 5, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I hope someone shoots Captain Books as she is obviously sick, thereby eliminating her problem. Then we can work on “Marc”

  3. Marc

    Oct 4, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I couldn’t Agree MORE with the Police Captian’s policy / procedure. We as a society/country need to STOP expecting our government to do everything for us. The City of Harrisburg has MAJOR budget issues, and have cut as many un-necessary programs as possible, to include this animal control contract. This Police Captian might have had a little more tact in her approach, but I think she is IN FACT, protecting the public from potential wild/stray/rabid animal issues with this policy to the best of her ability given the financial/political environment that she is dealing with. She could have very easily told the public not to call the police for assistance on any animal matters, noting that animal matters are outside the responsibilities of the police department, and there would be a whole different set of people that would be mad about this, and I am guessing that she really doesn’t care.

    If there is group of people that wants to take up the cause of protecting these animals / finding them a home etc. then use PRIVATE funds to make that happen, not our tax payer dollars. Or, if there is enough public support, and we want then government to take this up as one of their responsibilities, then don’t complain when our property and wage taxes increase to pay for this.

    • Laura B

      Dec 30, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Well aren’t you full of compassion????

  4. Ranae Knecht

    Mar 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    An economist’s guess is likely to be as well as anybody else’s.
    Like a small businessperson, you’ve got no greater leverage as opposed to truth.

  5. Michael J Considine Jr

    Feb 14, 2012 at 3:09 am

    As a citizen of this great state of PA, this makes me sick and another example of the short sightedness brought on by these extreme budget cuts while this Governor refuses to collect taxes from the Natural Gas companies raping our land.

  6. Brandy Arnold

    Jan 15, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    I agree with you completely, Carol. I am disgusted too, and can’t imagine that the police in Harrisburg are ok with this procedure!

  7. carol ives

    Jan 15, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    this i disgusting totally unreal i thought cops were there to protect us not to kill what we love

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