VINELAND, N.J. (CBS) – It’s a somber day at the Vineland police department, in Cumberland County, NJ, after one of their K-9 patrol dogs was killed in the line of duty today.
Police say “Clif,” a five-year-old German shepherd, was returning to the patrol car after tracking a burglary suspect when a 75-year-old woman swerved around an officer walking on the shoulder, drove up on the grass, and hit the dog.
Capt. Rudy Beu says Clif was loved by everyone at the department and will be difficult to replace.
“The dog was a fantastic patrol dog,” Beu says. “All the dogs are good, but some seem to have a little bit more than others.”
Capt. Beu says the loss is particularly tough on Sgt. William Bontcue (with Clif in photos), who has been Clif’s handler since the dog joined the department in 2008.
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“It goes home with him and his family at the end of the shift, and that’s where the dog spends his off-duty time, so basically that officer is with that dog pretty much 24 hours a day,” Beu told KYW Newsradio.
The driver was charged with reckless driving and failure to obey an officer’s signal.
Plans for a memorial service were not immediately announced.
Reported by Mike Dougherty, KYW Newsradio 1060