Owner furious at Vernon Township officer who fatally shot her dog

Posted: Updated:

A Sussex County community is outraged after a police officer fatally shot a dog running loose just feet from his home.

On Saturday afternoon, a neighbor reported a vicious dog wandering in Vernon Township. A police officer responded to the scene and shot the dog because he felt threatened.

Jen Hearon, the owner of the 3-year-old Labrador, says she was unaware that Hiro broke out of the backyard of her home. When she walked out of her home, she found the dog covered with a blanket in the middle of the street.

Authorities on scene informed her that the dog was lunging at the officer and foaming at the mouth.

"He wasn't lunging or biting or anything," Hearon said. "Just barking at him."

Hearon's next-door neighbor, Mary Neives, witnessed the incident between the officer and Hiro right in front of her driveway.

"He fired his gun and shot him right in front of me," Neives said.

Vernon Township police had no comment regarding the incident at this time. The neighbor didn't want to speak on the incident but said she did feel threatened by the dog.

Mayor of Vernon Township, Harry Shortway, wrote on a Facebook page that read in part: "All discharges of police firearms are reviewed and in incidents such as this, full investigations are conducted. The death of a pet is always sad no matter what the circumstances and our thoughts and prayers for comfort are with all parties involved."

The family says they are going to consult with an attorney.

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