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Gloucester County confirms K-9 death but questions remain

Authorities say they are investigating the deaths of two dogs, including a K-9, that were in the care of the Gloucester County Fire Marshal.

Authorities have provided few answers about the deaths, prompting mounting public complaints about the process and outrage after a published report claimed the fire marshal buried the dogs in his own backyard before investigators could examine their bodies. bodies.

Gloucester County Commissioner Chris Konawel told New Jersey 101.5 that Fire Chief Shawn Layton, who is also a Democratic caucus member in Mantua, failed to notify county officials immediately after the K-9 and his own dog died on August 12.

Konawel said he heard from several residents about the death of K-9 named Ember and Layton’s pet and asked the fire marshal’s liaison with the county about it in an email. Konawel said no one from the county responded to her emails.

According to a New Jersey Globe story, County Manager Chad Bruner told County Commissioner Director Frank DiMarco about the deaths a day later, on Aug. 13.

Layton and County Manager Chad Bruner share the same address, according to Konawel. Bruner, who is also the Democratic chairman of Gloucester County, was responsible for both Layton’s hiring and the initial investigation of the dogs.

Konawel, a Republican, said the county manager would not respond to a New Jersey Globe report that said the dogs were buried in Layton’s backyard in a ceremonial fire hydrant plot before the district attorney’s office took possession of them. the bodies.

“When asked ‘were you there when the dog was buried? Were you there when the dog died?’ he refused to answer any questions,” Konawel said. “Who was notified, when they were notified, nobody answers anything.”

Layton has not returned requests for comment from New Jersey 101.5.

Gloucester County Ember K-9

Gloucester County K-9 Ember (Chris Konawel)

Confirmation of two deaths.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Gloucester County Commissioner Director Frank DiMarco confirmed the deaths of the dogs that were inside his county-issued 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe. It was unclear how officials knew the dogs had died in the vehicle.

Konawel said Layton is using sick days as medical leave and has not been suspended.

Konawel said he tried to put the death on the agenda of Wednesday’s Gloucester County Board of Commissioners meeting, but the Democrat-controlled board turned him down. But that didn’t stop concerned residents from raising the issue during the public comment section of the meeting. Many wore orange T-shirts that read #JusticeforK-9Ember.

“The public was there, they had questions and I think they left with more questions than answers. The county attorney was distant and rude to the public. He tried to make it a partisan issue,” Konawel told New Jersey 101.5.

Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives Tom Gilbert spoke during the meeting and said an investigation is underway but he will not reveal any details. Details will not be released until the investigation is complete.

“It will be complete. It will be thorough. I can’t put a completion date on it. Go on,” Gilbert said.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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