HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ — A Hunterdon County family is mourning after a hunter shot their beloved dog with a crossbow on Wednesday. Readington Township police said the hunter claimed to have mistaken the dog, described as an Alaskan shepherd, for a coyote.

The incident happened around 7:15 p.m. Wednesday evening in the area of Old Readington Road and Freeman Lane. Readington resident Elizabeth Mongno shared details of the incident on Facebook, and her account quickly spread.

Mongno said she was outside her house with her dog, Tonka, when Tonka began chasing a deer.

“I was following him and loudly calling him back, but we [sic] was happily chasing the deer. He has done this before and comes back 30 secs later,” she wrote.

This time, though, he didn’t come back.

Mongno said one of her neighbors had given a relative permission to hunt on their property.

“A man saw Tonka running. Tonka stopped, probably about to return home, and the man shot and killed Tonka with a crossbow,” Mongno wrote.

The hunter, identified by police as Romeo Antonuccio of Kenilworth, told officers that he was hunting and thought the dog was a coyote chasing a deer. Police determined Antonucci was licensed to hunt and was the proper distance from the surrounding residences.

New Jersey Fish and Wildlife responded to the scene, and the incident is still under investigation.

Mongno says she and her neighbors are “furious” about what happened.

“It all happened so fast, but I was so loudly calling him home, other neighbors, from further away could hear. Our hearts are completely broken,” she wrote.


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Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
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