In these days of dwindling budgets, the austerity thing can go too far: Police officers in Harrisburg, Pa., have been given the OK to shoot stray dogs rather than take them to local shelters. –ARK


Want to get people riled up? Institute a new policy about shooting puppies.

The city of Harrisburg, Pa., learned this last week when an internal police department memo went public, instructing officers of the cash-strapped city to stop bringing its growing number of stray dogs to the shelter. Instead, it said, they should release them in another area, adopt them themselves — or just put a bullet in them. Now that’s the new austerity.

Amid the predictable outcry, the city promised it would reconsider the policy. But the controversy also illuminated a serious — and largely ignored — urban issue: the soaring number of feral cats and dogs, and cities’ decreasing ability to deal with them. “The problem is way worse than people assume,” says Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue of St. Louis. “It’s a topic nobody talks about, but over the past 20 years it’s become an underground epidemic in most cities.”

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