NJ police dog dies after being hit by car

VINELAND, N.J. - October 10, 2011

It was around 5:50 a.m. when the K-9, Clif, was walking with his handler, Sgt. William Bontcue, after tracking a burglary suspect.

They were walking on the shoulder of Becker Drive when a car, driven by a 75-year-old woman, swerved around the officer and hit Clif.

Clif died at Linwood Veterinary Hospital at around 7:00 a.m.

"The officer in the roadway flashed a light at the vehicle to try to slow it down. The vehicle swerved from the officer and went into the yard of the neighboring property and subsequently struck the canine," said Captain Rudy Beu.

Clif was a 5-year-old German Shepherd from Czechoslovakia. He began working for the Vineland Police Department in 2008.

He was one of four dogs on the police force.

Captain Beu says that Clif had a great demeanor, was exceptional at apprehensions yet was not overly aggressive.

"It's like losing a family member. They spend more time with that dog that they do with their own family. They take the dog home with them at the end of the shift," said Captain Beu.

The woman who struck the dog has been charged with reckless driving and failing to obey an officer's signal.

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