Update: This opinion piece first ran on July 29, 2019 shortly after a Vernon Twp police officer shot to death a loose dog that had been reported as acting aggressively. An investigation by internal affairs has since concluded the officer’s actions were justified. Officer Rivera felt he was in immediate danger and the investigating body concurred.

Vernon Twp Police Chief Daniel B. Young told the NJ Herald, “As with all types of police incidents that we deal with, training, retraining and updating training are critical to help prepare our officers for the future.” He said they would consider additional training regarding such situations.

Bottom line, the officer was found to have done nothing wrong. Watch the video and see if you agree, then take our poll.


There's a pathetic situation going on in Vernon. A police officer was sent to respond to a call about a loose, aggressive dog roaming and terrorizing a neighborhood there. The caller said a dog was "running at large" and growling aggressively according to police. The man said he was forced to retreat into his vehicle when the dog came at him.

Police say when officer Emanuel Rivera showed up and approached the home where neighbors indicated the dog belonged the animal came barreling towards him. He described it as an "aggressive charge" and to protect himself he pulled his gun and fired a single shot, according to authorities. It killed the dog.

The dog was named Hiro, and belonged to Jenn Hearon and her husband. According to nj.com, the woman is wanting to see the bodycam footage of the shooting and the husband is going to be speaking to a lawyer.

Absurd when you consider Hearon's following quote from nj.com.

"We called him Houdini as a joke because we could never figure out how he escaped," she said after admitting she always attached him to a leash anchored to the house when she let him outside.

So here you are lady, admitting there was an ongoing problem with the leash not properly securing your animal and apparently all you did about it was make Houdini jokes? Her own words show this was an ongoing issue! And now your family is considering a lawsuit?

This wasn't magic. This was a failure in physics. Either the collar wasn't tight enough, or the leash wasn't properly anchored, or something else obvious. It is a dog owner's responsibility to have their pet secured not only for other people's safety but for the safety of the dog. This family failed in that responsibility and it cost Hiro his life. Now they want to blame the police. Pathetic.

It is no one's fault but their own that this animal is dead. If you have a restraint system that continuously fails to secure the dog, you don't keep using it while making Houdini jokes. You figure out how to properly secure the animal. I hope someone within the family talks some sense into these people. The courts are clogged enough without the possibility of such selfishness and arrogance heading to court.

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