New Jersey

Man Sentenced for Leaving Puppy to Drown in Cage on Shore of NJ River

The 36-year-old father of young children left the dog in the perilous situation after a fight with his ex-girlfriend

NBCUniversal, Inc.

A man convicted of leaving a puppy to drown in a cage along the shores of a New Jersey river was sentenced to a year in prison Friday, with animal rights advocates applauding the ruling.

Aaron Davis was convicted in late 2019 of a single count of animal cruelty after leaving an 8-month-old pit bull in a cage by a river off Highlands in 2018. Thankfully the scared and whimpering pup, who has since been named River, was rescued by Jennifer Vaz, who saw the canine as she was walking her own dog.

Davis, a 36-year-old father of young children, left the dog in the perilous situation after a fight with his ex-girlfriend. Davis is appealing his conviction, but even if he serves his one year in jail, he will also have to serve 156 hours of community service at an SPCA facility.

“Animals such as River deserve the same rights as any other living creature on earth and therefore it will not be tolerated,” said Monmouth SPCA Executive Director Ross Licitra. The animal rights activists in the courthouse on Friday were glad to see Davis get the punishment, and are still fighting to change the law to increase penalties for animal cruelty.

River, now fully grown, was adopted after his terrifying ordeal and is doing well, NBC New York was told.

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