Crated dog was placed in bay to get revenge on rival boyfriend, prosecutors say

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The man charged with leaving a pit bull mix in a cage to drown in the Sandy Hook Bay was trying to get revenge on a romantic rival, prosecutors say.

Aaron Davis, 34, is being held without bail pending trial on third-degree charges of animal cruelty and disorderly persons charges.

A judge in Monmouth County Courthouse Monday sided with the state in its bid to deny bail and keep Davis behind bars until he is tried in the case, the Asbury Park Press reported.

The dog was discovered and rescued before the tide came in July 30 by a woman who had been walking her own dog at Veterans Memorial Park in Highlands, N.J.

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During a hearing Monday in Superior Court in Freehold Borough, prosecutors revealed that the dog — actually named Blaze — belonged to the ex-boyfriend of Davis’ girlfriend. The woman has children by both men.

The prosecutor said that the ex-boyfriend, Benito Williams, tried to break into the woman’s home but Davis stopped him and a fight ensued. Davis acted with “malice and depravity” to eliminate an “emblem of his enemy,” a prosecutor said.

Davis’ attorney, Adamo Ferreira of Hackensack, argued that the charges would likely result in probation in the event of a conviction and that the state’s case was “paper thin.”

Jennifer Vaz, who rescued the dog and named him River, has been fostering the dog.

She had planned to adopt him, but announced this week that she would be turning the dog over to the Monmouth County SPCA because her own dog has not taken well to the new dog.

Ross Licitra, executive director of the Monmouth County SPCA, said the dog will not be returned to the original owner.

(Photos: Asbury Park Press)

John Woestendiek

John Woestendiek is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of "Dog, Inc.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man's Best Friend."