MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ: A Long Branch man convicted last year of locking an 8-month-old pit bull puppy in a small wire cage and leaving that cage in the rising tide of the Sandy Hook Bay in the Highlands was sentenced to a year in prison, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Aaron D. Davis, 36, of Long Branch, was sentenced to a year in a New Jersey State Prison by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Marc C. LeMieux. The sentence comes after Davis was found guilty in December of fourth-degree Animal Cruelty following a three-day trial before Judge LeMieux. Judge LeMieux also ordered Davis to pay restitution in the amount of $731.46 and to perform 156 hours of community service. Davis was also banned from owning pets while on parole.

An investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Division, and the Highlands Police Department was conducted after a passerby spotted a dog in a crate on a small portion of sand between the bulkhead and the water 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 Davis took 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 the dog the following day.

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“Abusing defenseless animals is an intolerable act and even more despicable when the animal was abused in retaliation to ‘get back’ at its owner. Had this passerby not been at the exact right place at the exact right time, River would have drowned due to the rising tides,” Gramiccioni said.

The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Amanda Dalton Clark.

Davis is represented by Adamo Ferriera, Esq., of Hackensack.