Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Wyckoff Police Exonerate Cop Who Shot Dog

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Wyckoff Police Exonerate Cop Who Shot Dog

Article excerpt

The Wyckoff police officer who fatally shot a German shepherd after going to the wrong address to investigate a burglary report last month has been exonerated by a borough internal affairs investigation after the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office declined to look into the matter, authorities said in a news release Friday night.

Township Police Chief Ben Fox issued a five-page statement saying that an investigation by his department had "exonerated" the officer, Kyle Ferreira, "from any claim questioning his truthfulness in this incident." Fox said the officer believed the dog could "cause serious bodily harm" after it bit him in the foot and latched onto his right boot. And Ferreira followed state Attorney General's Office guidelines for the use of deadly force, the chief said.

Fox said that he was taking an "unusual step" by releasing details of the investigation because "many facts have been misrepresented."

He said the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office had declined to investigate the matter, citing state regulations, and sent it back to his department's internal affairs unit. The chief had asked the Prosecutor's Office to investigate because "allegations were being made that the police department was not being truthful," he said in the statement.

The family that owned the dog, a 5-year-old German shepherd named Otto, said they were disappointed by the outcome. They said that the Prosecutor's Office told them earlier in the week that it wasn't involved in the investigation.

"I honestly don't know what the next step will be," said Igor Vukobratovic, 25, who lives with his parents, adding that he believes that Fox's statement was an "attempt to spin" the story and didn't adequately reflect eyewitness accounts that had been given to his family.

Fox said police interviewed an eyewitness who had provided information to the family and found she was "only about 90 percent certain that she observed the entire incident" and did not see the officer unholster his gun or the dog bite him. …

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