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Suspended Fairfield County K-9 Officer Killed, Buried Dogs at Training Facility, Police Say

David Rivera Jr.
David Rivera Jr. Photo Credit: Naugatuck Police Department

A suspended Connecticut K-9 officer and another man have been charged with killing at least 10 dogs and burying them on his business property.

New Canaan PD Officer David Rivera Jr., age 34, a Fairfield County resident in Stratford, turned himself in to Naugatuck Police in New Haven County on Monday, May 2, Department on an active warrant for events that took place at his business Black Rock Canine Training:

  • Conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals
  • Reckless endangerment 
  • Conspiracy to commit euthanization of a canine

Rivera was arrested along with his general manager New Haven County resident David Luna, age 33, of Waterbury, for shooting and killing at least 10 dogs and burying them on the property of the business when they were no longer "viable" for the business, said Naugatuck Police Chief Colin McAllister.

An investigation by Naugatuck detectives found that numerous canines of all ages and breeds, including German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and Labrador Retrievers, had been abused and injured during their time at Black Rock Canines. 

More specifically, at least 10 canines have been killed by employees with a firearm. The canines that were shot and killed were then buried on the property by the owner/operators of the business, McAllister said.

In addition, the investigation found that military-grade high explosives were being unlawfully stored on the property and that Rivera had directed employees on numerous occasions to remove high-grade explosives from the storage location at Black Rock Canine and transport them to the Naugatuck Event Center for canine training purposes inside the building. 

At the same time, the Event Center would usually contain numerous other people who were engaging at the other businesses such as a cycling center and retail clothing store, the chief said.

"These military-grade high explosives were allegedly stored in Tupperware containers and handled by inexperienced employees who lacked the training or the necessary permits to do so," he added. 

The investigation also found that employees were threatened with a knife by Rivera's father, David Rivera Sr., age 57, of Stratford, police said.

He was arrested on Friday, April 29 charged with threatening and breach of peace.

Rivera Jr. was released after posting a $150,000 court-set bond. Luna was held on a $225,000 Court set bond and arraigned at Waterbury Superior Court on Wednesday, May 3.

Naugatuck police seized the remaining 31 dogs at the business and they were taken to a shelter to receive proper care, police said.

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