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Sussex Daily Voice serves Andover, Byram, Franklin, Hardyston, Hopatcong, Lafayette, Newton, Sparta, Stanhope, Stillwater, Sussex & Vernon

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DV Pilot Police & Fire

Vernon PD: Officer Who Shot 'Aggressive' Dog Dead Tried Giving Commands First

Hiro was shot and killed by a Vernon police officer Saturday.
Hiro was shot and killed by a Vernon police officer Saturday. Photo Credit: Buddha Dog Rescue & Recovery

A Vernon police officer who fatally shot a loose dog tried giving him commands when he charged at him aggressively, authorities said.

** STORY UPDATE: Vernon Police Release Body Cam Footage Of Officer Fatally Shooting Dog **

The person who called the incident into police told Vernon Officer Rivera that the Labrador "Hiro" was on his property and growling at him Saturday afternoon, Township police said in a statement.

Rivera was walking down the street to speak to a neighbor when Hiro ran onto the road, charging toward the officer, police said.

"Ptl. Rivera then began to give the dog commands to stop, while Ptl. Rivera was retreating back to his patrol vehicle," the statement says. 

"The dog continued to aggressively charge at Ptl. Rivera approaching in close proximity to the retreating officer. Ptl. Rivera at this point drew and discharged his firearm at the animal, resulting in the dog’s death."

The incident, under investigation by local police, caused controversy amongst animal activists and locals who are saying the officer misjudged the friendly dog, Hiro.

"I have a lot of respect for police officers and the Vernon Police were there when I needed them but mistakes happen and I think this was one of those times," one person wrote. 

"I am very saddened for all involved. I pray you all find comfort and forgiveness 🙏"

"My condolences to the pup and the family," another said. 

"I know it's hard to make split decisions. Maybe train officers how to handle these situations."

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