MULLICA HILL – Gloucester County Republican Chairwoman Jacci Vigilante called a National Dog Day social media post by the official Gloucester County government Facebook page ironic.
“For Gloucester County government to be posting anything about National Dog Day without any official acknowledgment of the death of K9 Ember while in the care of the County Fire Marshal is not only cold but ironic and insensitive,” GCGOP Chairwoman Jacci Vigilante said. “The only thing county government should be concerned about is justice for K9Ember.”
According to published reports, K9 Ember was assigned to the County Fire Marshal and passed away in the vehicle assigned to the Fire Marshal. This fact is not in dispute and was confirmed by an attorney for a member of the Fire Marshal’s family who stated that the dogs tragically died in the Fire Marshal’s 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe K9 vehicle, in correspondence denying that another member of the Fire Marshal's family performed any work on the vehicle. A second dog reportedly died alongside Ember in the county-owned car.
“It is insulting that anyone in county government could post about National Dog Day when the only reason we know about two tragic dog deaths in the Fire Marshal’s car is because of an anonymous phone call to Commissioner Konawel,” Vigilante commented. "The County's failure to acknowledge Ember's death and honor her service is offensive to our first responders and to the citizens of the County."
“Rather than posting cute dog cartoons on social media for National Dog Day, perhaps county government should be joining our two Commissioners and the Gloucester County GOP in calling for justice for K9 Ember,” Vigilante said.
According to The Sun newspapers, the county officially welcomed K-9 Ember to its team of first responders in August 2020. Ember, a 1-year-old Red fox Labrador, teamed with her partner, Chief County Fire Marshal Shawn Layton, for a new working relationship after months of comprehensive training.
Ember arrived at the county fire marshal’s office as a donation from Joe Nick, K-9 director at the John “Sonny” Burke Police K-9 Academy at the Atlantic County Police Training Center. Before starting her active duty last week, Ember had worked with Layton at the academy since February. He estimated that Ember could work as many as 100 fire scenes in a year.