UPDATE: Man accused of leaving caged Pitbull “River” to drown turns himself in

UPDATE to previous story

“River” after his rescue after nearly drowning in ocean waters Photo: From: Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office

A 36-year-old Long Branch man suspected of leaving a caged mixed-breed pit bull to drown in Highlands last week surrendered to police Tuesday morning, authorities said.

Police had been searching for Aaron D. Davis since Friday after issuing a warrant for his arrest in connection with the case. Davis turned himself in without incident, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni announced in a statement.

Davis has been charged with third-degree attempting to cause death or serious bodily injury to an animal and three disorderly persons offenses including abandonment of a domestic animal, failure to provide necessary care and failure to provide proper shelter, Gramiccioni said.

Highlands resident Jenniffer Vaz rescued the 10-month-old gray and white dog, which she named River, at about 6:15 a.m. July 31 after discovering the dog hunched over behind a black wire cage at Veterans Memorial Park. The cage had been abandoned behind a bulkhead near the shore of the Sandy Hook Bay.

EARLIER Video: Pitbull left to drown in cage at water’s edge in New Jersey

Authorities say the rising tides would have swamped the cage and drowned River if he hadn’t been rescued.

After the rescue, Vaz brought the dog to Highlands police, who investigated the incident along with the animal cruelty unit of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Long Branch police. Investigators determined Davis abandoned River near the shoreline with the intention of drowning the dog, Gramiccioni said.

Davis is being held in the Monmouth County Jail. He is due to make his first appearance in Monmouth County Superior Court on Wednesday.

Gramiccioni said in a video posted to Facebook, which you can see at the top of this story, that River has a “clean bill of health” and has recovered from any injuries sustained in the incident.

Vaz said last week that she hoped to adopt River eventually.

FREEHOLD – A Long Branch man accused of leaving a caged mixed-breed pit bull to drown in Highlands last week made his first appearance in court Wednesday.

The hearing in Superior Court, Freehold occurred a day after 34-year-old Aaron D. Davis turned himself into authorities, who had been looking for him after a warrant was issued for his arrest Friday.

Davis has been charged with attempting to cause death or serious bodily injury to an animal. Davis also drew three minor charges: abandonment of a domestic animal, failure to provide necessary care and failure to provide proper shelter.

Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Amanda Dalton Clark told Judge Richard W. English that her office is seeking a detention hearing in the case, meaning it wants to keep Davis in Monmouth County Jail until trial.

“We’re asking for three days,” she said.

Watch the video at the bottom of this story to see Davis in court.

The dog was rescued from behind a bulkhead at Veterans Memorial Park in Highlands. (Photo: From Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office)

Davis’s attorney, Adamo Ferreira objected, saying Davis is facing the lowest criminal charge, a fourth-degree offense, and minor disorderly persons offenses in the case.

Aaron D. Davis, 36, of Long Branch, is shown during his initial appearance in State Superior Court in Freehold Wednesday, August 8, 2018. He was charged in connection with the attempted drowning of ‘River,’ a dog found last week in a cage on a bulkhead in Highlands. (Photo: Thomas P. Costello)

Highlands resident Jennifer Vaz found the 10-month-old gray and white dog about 6:15 a.m. July 31 hunched over inside a black wire cage at Veterans Memorial Park. Rising water would have submerged the cage, abandoned behind a bulkhead near the shore of the Sandy Hook Bay, authorities said.

Davis intended to drown the dog, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni,

After the rescue, Vaz named the dog River and brought it to Highlands police, who investigated the incident along with the animal cruelty unit of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Long Branch police.

Aaron D. Davis, 36, of Long Branch, is shown during his initial appearance in State Superior Court in Freehold Wednesday, August 8, 2018. He was charged in connection with the attempted drowning of ‘River,’ a dog found last week in a cage on a bulkhead in Highlands. (Photo: Thomas P. Costello)

Vaz said last week that she hoped to adopt River eventually.

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