A Monmouth County man was convicted Thursday of animal cruelty for leaving a caged dog in a New Jersey bay, prosecutors announced.
A jury found Aaron D. Davis, 36, of Long Branch guilty of fourth-degree animal cruelty following a three-day trial. He was accused of leaving the 8-month-old pit bull in a small wire cage in the rising tide of the Sandy Hook Bay.
Davis 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 is sentenced on February 14, authorities say.
An investigation began after a passerby walking her dog spotted the caged puppy on a small portion of sand between a bulkhead and the water around 6 a.m. on July 30, 2018, according to prosecutors. The good Samaritan then climbed over ropes and down a rock barrier to rescue the dog, who was later named River.
Prosecutors determined that Davis took the puppy after a domestic dispute earlier that day.
“If it were not for the passerby’s actions, the dog would have likely drowned due to the rising tides,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said.