Animal Advocacy

City of Newark Officers Use Deadly Force
on Stray/Abandoned Dogs

Police hit two loose dogs with vehicles, then fatally shoot one of them (USA Today)

Newark Police kill ‘aggressive’ dog, hit another with patrol vehicle (Newark Post)

We feel it is necessary to make a statement about the incident of the two dogs allegedly hit purposely with the police vehicle with one shot dead. We have received many calls from the community upset about the handling of the situation which resulted in a tragic outcome. Citizens have expressed their deep concern, specifically about the use of deadly force by officers instead of life-saving work for these stray or abandoned dogs from the animal welfare agents already present at the scene.

We only have the story outlined in the newspaper and we may be missing some of the facts. Therefore, for the purpose of accountability, we ask for a full investigation of the incident so that citizens have the facts and that appropriate corrective actions can be instituted by the City of Newark to prevent future unnecessary deaths of stray or abandoned animals.

It appears to us that the officers have not received proper training to deal with these situations in the most humane and effective manner. If the officers had been properly trained, they may have realized that the dogs were most likely behaving aggressively out of fear.

The idea that dogs who bark or lunge, and have behaviors which appear aggressive, are ‘dangerous’ is not always an appropriate conclusion for abandoned or stray dogs who are often scared for their lives and safety.

We learned that every year in the U.S. over 10,000 dogs are killed by police. We know that police officers have difficult jobs and that they face many dangerous situations. However, we believe proper training in animal care and control can prevent unnecessary killings.

Police officer training on safe animal handling is not only important to the officers but also to the dogs and the people who love them. In fact, one department — in Kansas City, MO — reduced the shooting of dogs by 80% after officers were trained by a dog behaviorist and adopted new practices consistent with that training: See Here

Dogs are family. Dogs have rights to be treated humanely. Likewise, officers deserve the tools they need to do their jobs safely, effectively, and humanely and with accountability.

Sadly, one dog needlessly lost his/her life and another was injured. We are pleased to learn that the second dog who was secured is recovering at Brandywine Valley SPCA.

To Have Your Voice Heard:

Email or Call the following individuals:

Polly Sierer, Mayor of Newark

State Representatives for Newark area:
Senator Brian Townsend, Esq.

Representative John Kowalko

What you may want to email or say when you call:

  • Politely introduce yourself and where you live (personalize your message such as let them know if you have dogs)
  • Let them know you are contacting them because you are upset about the incident on May 11th where Newark Police resorted to deadly force by striking dogs with their cars, ending with one dog being shot and killed; (explain why this incident matters to you);
  • Ask for a full investigation of the incident so the community has the facts and that appropriate actions are taken and publicized following the results of the investigation;
  • Ask that nationally recommended training and equipment be provided for the City of Newark Police, City of Newark Animal Care and Control Officers, and the State Office of Animal Welfare Officers so they are better prepared to handle abandoned or stray dogs in these situations in the most humanely way possible.
  • Ask that funding and similar training be provided for police across the state who may be involved in supporting animal care and control, including State and County police and municipalities such as Dover (which like, Newark, have their own animal care and control teams).
  • Thank them for hearing your concerns.

ACTION NEEDED: Write USA Today Editorial Board in support of their stand against the King Amendment / 2018 Farm Bill


On Monday, USA Today’s editorial board published a fantastic editorial lambasting the King Amendment, and King himself published an editorial in response.

ACTION NEEDED – TIME SENSITIVE:  Please help keep the King Amendment out of the Farm Bill by writing a short letter (under 200 words) to USA Today’s editorial board, thanking them for taking a stand against the King Amendment and explaining why you oppose this reckless assault on animals, consumers, and states’ rights.

See the example letter below for more information and inspiration for your own letter. Make sure to include your full name as well as your address and phone.  Thank you so much for your help! 

Dear USA Today Editorial Board,

Thank you for speaking out against Rep. Steve King’s latest attack on animals, consumers and states’ rights. (“Needlessly Killing Kittens and the Horrible Hundred”) King’s proposed amendment to the farm bill could overturn thousands of important state and local laws, including laws governing animal welfare. These laws were democratically enacted to address important local concerns and should not be overturned en masse by a fringe politician in Iowa who wants to score points with his Big Ag benefactors. Thankfully, over 120 bipartisan lawmakers and over 200 public interest groups vocally opposed the King Amendment before Congress rejected the farm bill outright. To protect consumers, animals, and states’ rights, our federal lawmakers must now ensure that this odious measure stays out of the farm bill for good.