A pet dog was shot dead by a police officer after the animal charged at him while responding to a call about an "aggressive" canine behavior. The incident took place Saturday in Vernon, New Jersey.

Police said residents of the area complained about the dog's behavior following which an officer arrived at the scene. Capt. Keith Kimkowski said someone had complained about a dog growling and “running at large in the neighborhood.”

The dog aggressively charged at the responding officer, Vernon police said, adding that the canine was shot dead. Police continue to investigate the incident and have not released the bodycam video of the event, a local media report said.

The Vernon police department released a statement following the incident.

On 7/27/19, officers responded to Tall Oaks Drive for a report of an aggressive dog. Ptl. Rivera spoke with the complainant who stated that the dog was running at large in the neighborhood and approached the complainant on his property. The complainant stated that the dog was growling and the complainant retreated to his vehicle. Ptl. Rivera began to walk down the street and spoke with another resident. This resident informed Ptl. Rivera that the dog was their neighbors. Ptl. Rivera then began to walk on the public roadway towards the alleged home of the dog. While the officer was on the roadway the dog ran onto the roadway and began to charge towards Ptl. Rivera. Ptl. Rivera then began to give the dog commands to stop, while Ptl. Rivera was retreating back to his patrol vehicle. The dog continued to aggressively charge at Ptl. Rivera approaching in close proximity to the retreating officer. Ptl. Rivera at this point drew and discharged his firearm at the animal, resulting in the dog’s death.

This incident is continuing to be investigated by the Vernon Township Police Department.

The owners, however, criticized the shooting of the dog and threatening legal action against the officer and department.

Jenn Hearon and her husband adopted Hiro from Eleventh Hour Rescue when it was a puppy. Hearon, who lived in the neighborhood for seven years, said she put Hiro on the leash Saturday, and soon after, she heard a gunshot.

“We heard a pop and my neighbor was calling me saying my dog was shot,” Hearon told an NJ Advance Media reporter. “He is cheerful and happy and joyous, and I let him out to go to the bathroom, and the next thing you know he is dead.”

“You had more of a fear of being licked to death than anything else,” she said, adding that she was still in shock after her pet’s death.

Hearon demanded police to release bodycam footage of the incident.

In this image, a Dobermann dog is seen running toward his trainer in Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 27, 2010. JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images