Vern was a 4.5-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever, born of champion bloodlines (his father won Best in Breed at Westminster), and a beloved, treasured member of his Glen Burnie, Maryland family.
While investigating a recent burglary in the Reeves’ neighborhood, an Anne Arundel County officer says he was confronted, and attacked, by Vern. He fired two shots, killing the dog who has been described as gentle and friendly.
The officer then told Vern’s stunned owner, Patrick Reeves, “I’m really, really sorry. I just had to shoot him.”
Anne Arundel County Police Chief, Kevin Davis explained to WJZ CBS Baltimore, “Our police officer states that he then turned to leave the front door of the residence, went down the steps and in the driveway, and when he turned, the officer reports that he was then confronted and attacked. I just want to assert to everyone that as their police chief that I’m going to take these matters seriously.”
For now, the officer is on paid administrative duty while an investigation into the shooting takes place.
The Reeves family and neighbors are outraged and frightened by the shooting.
“I’m terrified. Someone else could be dead and not just my dog,” said Vern’s owner. Reeves insists that the officer could have used pepper spray, mace, or his baton instead of firing his weapon.
This shooting only exemplifies the need for police training on animal behavior and what to do in the event of an encounter with a dog. It was recently shown that half of all intentional police shootings involve a dog. At what point do our nation’s law enforcement agencies make a change?