By Janet Redyke
Two groups faced off in a protest in Vernon Township on Saturday as The Animal Protection League of New Jersey and supporters of Vernon Police Officer Emanuel River presented their opposing views.
Rivera fatally shot a loose dog on July 31 that he believed to be aggressive.
The Animal Protection League of New Jersey peacefully gathered on the corner of Route 94 and Main Street in Vernon. The group headed by Angie Metler said the demonstration is not against Vernon Township Police but believes the action taken by Rivera should have been dealt with in another manner. The animal activist group is advocating Canine Encounter training for police.
Police supporters gathered on Church Street across the street from the Vernon Municipal Building stating they are showing their solidarity for Rivera. Many Vernon families were in attendance. The Dorgan family expressed the opinion of many in the group stating that Rivera protected himself and the neighborhood and did his job well.
“He reacted correctly, making a split-second decision,” said Tim Dorgan.
The incident is continuing to be investigated by the Vernon Township Police Department.