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A gravesite for a Gloucester County first responder dog at the Sewell home of the Shawn Layton, the county fire marshal, in August 2022. (Photo: New Jersey Globe).

Gloucester GOP chief scolds Democrats on backyard talk

Vigilante slams Dems on death of fire marshal dog

By David Wildstein, October 07 2022 6:57 pm

In Gloucester County, Republicans think Democrats lack the moral authority to talk about backyards after one of their own, a politically connected county fire marshal, allegedly buried a first responder dog who died on his watch in his backyard.

Jacci Vigilante, the GOP county chair, today criticized the brazen boldness a Democratic mailer that said “Republicans promise to do some scary stuff in our backyard.”

“Two dogs dying tragic deaths, burying those dogs and notifying high ranking Democrat party officials and elected Democrats of those deaths without bothering to notify the county prosecutor are the only scary things that have happened in a Gloucester County backyard in recent months,” said Vigilante.

A three-year-old Golden Retriever trained for arson investigations died in August while left in a county vehicle assigned to Shawn Layton, the Gloucester County fire marshal and a Democratic township committeeman in Mantua.  Layton’s own dog also died in the same vehicle.

The Gloucester County Prosecutor’s office has an ongoing investigation of the incident.

A photograph obtained by the New Jersey Globe showed a pet cemetery erected by Layton in his backyard, including a fire hydrant and American flags.  The prosecutor’s office was not notified of the dog’s death for two days.

“Gloucester County Democrats are as desperate in their political attacks as they were in the immediate aftermath of the tragic death of K9 Ember,” stated Vigilante.  “In the past several months the only thing scary in a Gloucester County backyard was Democrats burying K9 Ember in the fire marshal’s backyard before the prosecutor’s office was notified of her death.”

Vigilante mocked the reverse side of the mailer, where local Democrats suggested that politicians should be taken at their word.

“We should take politicians at their word and remember that in an interview after the public’s discovery of K9 Ember’s death, County Commissioner Director Frank DiMarco said ‘everything was hitting the fan’ when informed of Ember’s death by County Administrator and County Democratic Chairman Chad Bruner early on the day it apparently occurred,” she said.  “We can only imagine what Mr. DiMarco meant by ‘everything was hitting the fan.’”

DiMarco and another incumbent, Denice DiCarlo, faces Republicans Stephen Pakradooni, Jr. and Adam Wingate in a contest that could determine control of  county government.

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