"This could have been much, much worse," he said.
Dennis McVeigh fumed when Lacovara complimented Taffet and his wife for taking "responsibility" for their dog's actions.
Lacovara said he applied "common sense" when making his decision to label Duke as "potentially dangerous" and not "vicious."
"It's crazy. It's crazy," Dennis said after the hearing, his voice raw with emotion.
The decision means that Duke and his father, Rocky, will share more than a questionable bloodline - they'll both need enclosures at home and muzzles and red identification tags when they're in public.
Taffet declined to comment after the hearing.
His attorney, Richard Klineburger, said the decision was fair and noted that the defense had made an offer to accept requirements of the potentially dangerous label months ago, before the two-day trial, if the prosecution dropped their "vicious dog" pursuit.
"We could have saved the township a lot of money in legal fees," he said.
After a series of attacks by Rocky in 2002-'04, a Haddonfield judge deemed the dog potentially dangerous, which meant it would have to be muzzled in public. The Taffets appealed that ruling, and in 2009 a Superior Court judge reversed the decision. An appeals court subsequently reinstated the ruling.
Klineburger said he would discuss with the Taffets the possibility of appealing yesterday's decision regarding Duke. He said Taffet has "about seven" dogs, but Duke is being held in a Burlington County facility.
Attorney Frank Hoerst, who is also representing the Taffets, said the case has taken an emotional toll on the family. As he spoke, Michelle Taffet began to cry.
"It's time to move forward," Hoerst said.
The McVeighs said they pursued the vicious-dog label because they felt the Taffets, whom they had known through a swim club, were anything but responsible. They said Robert Taffet never informed them that Rocky had been accused of biting five other people, including small children, in Haddonfield. They never knew about the "tens of thousands" he spent on attorneys and dog-behavior experts to defend Rocky and fight the potentially dangerous label all the way up to the state appellate court in Trenton.
Dennis McVeigh believes the whole scenario will play out again, either by Duke, Rocky, or some other dog's actions. One thing will remain constant, he contends, and that's the man in the defendant's chair.
"History is an indicator of what will happen in the future," he said.