Man wanted for abandoning dog near water in Highlands turns himself in
The Long Branch man wanted for allegedly abdanoning the dog now affectionally renamed "River" has turned himself into police, in an announcement on Facebook from the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office.
It was a week ago Monday the one year old pitbull mixed breed dog was found whimpering in fear in a cage filling up with waters the tide rolled at Veterans Memorial Park on Bay Avenue in Highlands.
A warrant was later issued for the arrest of Aaron D. Davis, 36, of Long Branch, on charges of abandoning the dog that a rescuer renamed "River," a good samaritan by the name of Jennifer Vaz found around 6:51 am on July 31.
Vaz was walking her own dog when she observed something on the water side of the rock bulkhead.
As she investigated she spotted a black wire cage with a small dog cowering inside the cage.
The cage was on a small portion of sand between the bulkhead and the water.
The tide was coming in and the water had reached the cage.
"River” was brought then to the Highlands Police Department who then contacted Highlands Animal Control.
When Animal Control officers responded to the site of the canine’s rescue, they found the cage almost submerged by the rising tide.
"I wanted to pass along some good news," Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni said in a Facebook video. "I'm proud to announce that earlier this morning Mr. Davis surrendered to authorities without incident.
Last week we launched an investigation after a dog was found on the waterfront at Veterans Memorial Park in Highlands.
The dog affectionally known as "River" was trapped inside of a crate as the tide was rising and when he was discovered by a concerned citizen, the dogs crate was nearly half way covered.
But for her heroic actions in saving him the dog would have drowned as a result of the tide that was rising."
"I'm also happy to say that I've received a report from the Monmouth County SPCA and River is doing fine, has a clean bill of health and any minor injuries that he received as a result of what happened to him last week have since remediated."
If convicted of the third degree crime of Animal Cruelty, Davis faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in a New Jersey state prison.
On each disorderly persons offense, he faces a separate 6-month period of incarceration.
Davis is currently lodged at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution.
His first appearance, where Davis will formally be presented with the charges against him, is scheduled for Wednesday August 8, 2018 in Monmouth County Superior Court.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
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