UPDATE: Woman who whisked away ‘Pursuit’ from Humane Society of Harrisburg will not be charged

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The Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo will not be charging the shelter volunteer who took Pursuit from the Humane Society in Harrisburg for removing the dog from the shelter on Wednesday without permission. Swatara Township police have closed the case after Chardo determined criminal prosecution “is not in the public interest.”

The likeable four-year-old American bulldog had been the longest resident at the Humane Society in Harrisburg. Late last week, the shelter announced Pursuit would be euthanized on Monday, February 13; volunteers at the shelter were stunned at the shelter’s decision and insisted the dog had adapted well to shelter life and had not been given a fair chance.

The shelter enumerated their reasons for the decision and listed the background as well as the incidents on the dog’s time at the shelter on their Facebook page:

• He arrived in October 2021. For over a year, there was little interest in adopting him. HSHA offered him to outside rescues, but none were interested.

• In May 2022, during a meet-and-greet with a family interested in adoption, Pursuit lunged at a teenager, attempting to bite him.

• In June 2022, Pursuit bit an employee and broke skin when they were conducting an evening feeding.

• In August 2022, the shelter started a foster-to-adopt program for longtime residents, including Pursuit. Unfortunately, he didn’t receive any interest.

• Last month, Pursuit had a couple interested in adopting him. He was given time to settle down prior to the meeting, but then lunged at the man’s upper body and attempted to bite him. After this incident, experienced senior members of the staff evaluated Pursuit. To ensure we conducted a thorough evaluation, HSHA brought in a third-party trainer to conduct mock meet-and-greets. The team and third-party trainer concluded Pursuit was not safe to adopt.

Volunteers, however had a different view of the dog, who they described as fun, goofy and great on walks. When volunteers approached Pursuit for his walk, the dog approached the front of his kennel and patiently sat while he was leashed. Also, his caretakers had not seen any signs of stress; Pursuit seemed to take life at the shelter in stride; and perhaps he is was thankful for the love and attention he received from the kindhearted volunteers. In addition, Pursuit had not been given any behavior training as other dogs who had in the past, displayed similar personality issues.

On Monday, while animal advocates protested in the front of the shelter, one of the volunteers removed Pursuit from inside of the shelter, loaded the dog into her car after speaking to the police and left.

Numerous rescue groups have volunteered to take Pursuit. Senator John DiSanto asked for the plans to euthanize the dog be delayed.

A fundraiser has been established for the volunteer who took Pursuit for legal costs. A Facebook page Let Pursuit Live is hoping to raise awareness and to support the volunteer trying to save the dog.

Meanwhile Pursuit remains at an undisclosed location and is safe.

Read prior articles here and here.

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