A 36-year-old Long Branch man has been convicted of fourth-degree animal cruelty for locking an 8-month-old dog in a cage and leaving it in the rising tide in Sandy Hook Bay in July of 2018, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni announced on Thursday.
Aaron D. Davis was found guilty after a three-day trial before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Marc C. LeMieux. He faces a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and up to 30 days of community service when he returns for sentencing on Feb. 14, 2020.
The case background …
An investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Division was conducted after a passerby spotted a pit bull puppy in a crate on a small portion of sand between the bulkhead and the water in Highlands on Sandy Hook Bay at approximately 6 a.m. on July 30, 2018.
The passerby climbed over the ropes, down the rock barrier and onto the sand to rescue the dog, who was later named River.
The investigation revealed that Davis had taken the puppy following a domestic dispute in the early morning hours. Highlands police responded to the domestic incident and captured video footage of the puppy which helped to identify it the following day.
“If it were not for the passerby’s actions, the dog would have likely drowned due to the rising tides,” Gramiccioni said.
— Edited press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office