Video released of Keyport, NJ dog shooting — owners charged
KEYPORT — Video released by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office shows a police officer firing his service weapon twice at a growling pit bull that was charging at him late Saturday afternoon.
The dog's owners, Alexyss Ferrara, 29, and Angel Velez Jr, 34, both of Keyport, were charged by acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago with possessing a dangerous dog and several other violations related to the dog’s aggressive behavior.
The prosecutor's office released a 911 call about a pit bull attacking a woman and her dog in the parking lot on Pine Street near a baseball field. Santiago said the dog named Blaze was visiting a relative and ran off.
In bodycam footage also released by the Prosecutor's Office, a dog can be heard barking in the distance as several officers walk into the parking lot off Pine Street at 5:48 p.m.
The growling dog eventually comes around one of the parked police vehicles and rushes at the officer who fires two quick shots.
The whimpering dog then scurries away.
Where did Blaze go?
The three officers walk down the street looking for the dog and are called over by a male voice to the garage of the house next to the parking lot. Two officers slowly walk up to the garage and stand outside assessing the situation. The officers talk to a man and have a conversation that cannot completely be heard on the video.
"You had no choice, bro," one officer said, presumably to the officer who fired the shots.
The Monmouth County SPCA came to the scene and took the injured dog for treatment, according to Santiago. The dog is currently in stable condition at a veterinary hospital.
Owner calls it 'animal cruelty
Ferrara took to her Facebook page after the shooting and wrote that Blaze is not a dangerous dog and doesn't have a record. She called the shooting "animal cruelty."
Santiago said his office released the video because the "case has received an ample amount of attention online via social media."
"In the interest of transparency, we are releasing a responding officer’s body-worn camera footage, as well as the 911 call, to clear up any misconceptions of what happened and the circumstances surrounding the weapon discharge," Santiago said in a statement released Tuesday. "It was an extremely unfortunate situation that the officer was faced with.”
Under the guidelines of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office Use of Force Directive, the incident is being investigated and reviewed by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Responsibility Unit.
Ferrara's attorney, Matthew Jordan, told New Jersey 101.5 he had not reviewed the footage and the Prosecutor's Office would not give him the video prior to its public release.
**WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO**
Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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