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Animal Shelter Volunteer 'Steals' Dog on Death Row During Protest, Police Won't File Criminal Charges

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A 4-year-old American bulldog mix named Pursuit is at the center of a controversy that began at the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area in Pennsylvania.

Pursuit has been the longest resident at the humane society. In December, they described him as “playful, independent, protective, funny, and athletic” as they tried to find him a forever home.

“We would say we are looking for a Christmas Miracle, but Pursuit shouldn’t need a miracle because he is a great dog; yet somehow, he is approaching his SECOND Christmas in a shelter,” the shelter posted in December.

“Truly a staff and volunteer favorite, Pursuit is a goofy 4-year-old American Bulldog mix known for his love of toys and always sitting like a proper gentleman (he is a gentleman walking on a leash too)! While he needs a feline-free home, he enjoys playing with other dogs! He is looking for a home with children 12 years or older.”

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But somehow, between December and February, the “proper gentleman” was slated to be euthanized.

There was a massive pushback from the community. A Facebook page called “Let Pursuit Live” was started. People protested at the shelter. Other rescues even reportedly offered to take the dog.

The humane society issued a statement on its Facebook page, claiming that the dog had bitten or attempted to bite three times, the most recent incident being with a prospective adopter in January. Following that third strike, the shelter said they had a third-party evaluator come in, and the evaluator determined that the dog was not safe to be adopted out.

The protesting reached a fever pitch on Monday, when Pursuit was scheduled to be put down. PennLive was on the scene filming as police were on site speaking to a person in a dark gray car.

An unidentified volunteer allegedly went into the shelter, removed Pursuit, and took the dog to their car. They appeared to speak to police at some length before driving away to the cheers of the gathered crowd.

Updates have been shared to the “Let Pursuit Live” page, saying only that the dog is safe and at an undisclosed location for the time being.

Since then, accusations have been hurled at the shelter, and it issued a statement on its Facebook page.

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“The Humane Society works tirelessly to find loving homes for all animals placed into our care,” the statement read. “We do this because we want them to become pets and live out their years in happiness.

“For this reason, we never euthanize based on space at the facility or how long an animal has been in our care. Last year, we found homes for 843 pets.

“This morning, Pursuit was removed from our shelter by a volunteer. Its unfortunate Pursuit was taken from us. We had decided to delay any decision for 72 hours to identify next steps. HSHA thanks everyone for their concern and love for animals. We love them, too.”

The humane society filed a police report, but on Feb. 16, the Swatara Township Police Department released a statement saying the investigation had been closed and no criminal charges would be filed.

“On February 13, 2023, the Humane Society of Harrisburg filed a police report with the Swatara Township Police Department pertaining to a dog named ‘Pursuit’ that was removed from the property by one of their volunteers,” the statement read.

“After conferring with the Dauphin County District Attorney’s office, it was determined that no criminal charges would be filed in this case. The Swatara Township Police Department investigation into the matter is now closed.”

Supporters of the shelter worry that this incident will undermine the shelter and its ultimate goal to find well-adjusted animals their forever homes, while fans of Pursuit are relieved that the dog was pulled in time.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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