Vernon police officer fatally shoots dog

Jul 29 2019 | 05:04 AM

Editor's note: This story has been updated with discription of body cam footage and status of Officer Rivera after the incident.

By Nicole M. Wells
A Vernon Township police officer was involved in the fatal shooting of a dog on Saturday, according to the department.
In a press release posted to the department’s Facebook page, Vernon Police said officers responded to Tall Oaks Drive for a complaint of an aggressive dog.
Ptl. Emanuel Rivera spoke with the man who made the complaint, who said that the dog was running loose in the neighborhood and approached him on his property.
In redacted body cam footage, Rivera can be heard asking the man, “Does it want to bite?”
“I tried to give it water, but it kind of attacked me almost,” the man said. “I’m not someone to scare easily, and I was scared.”
In a photo of the dog the man took on his cell phone and showed to Rivera, the officer noted that it was wearing a collar.
The man said the dog had been running through the neighborhood for four to five hours.
According to the department, the man said that the dog was growling so he took shelter inside his truck.
Rivera began to walk down the street and spoke with another resident, who told him that the dog belonged to their neighbor.
Rivera then began to walk on the public roadway toward the alleged home of the dog.
While he was on the street, the dog ran onto the roadway and began to charge toward Rivera.
The body cam footage shows the officer give the dog commands to stop, while he was retreating to his patrol vehicle. The dog continued to charge at Rivera, at which point he drew and fired his gun at the animal, the department said, resulting in the dog’s death.
According to Capt. Keith Kimkowski, the neighbor who called in the complaint is now being harassed because of the outcome of the incident.
The incident is continuing to be investigated by the Vernon Township Police Department and Rivera is on active duty, Kimkowski said.