A Keyport couple are facing charges after their dog acted in an aggressive manner toward a resident and prompted a police officer to fire his weapon on the evening of Oct. 22, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced on Oct. 25.
Alexyss Ferrara, 29, and Angel Velez Jr., 34, both of Keyport, have been charged with possessing a dangerous dog and multiple violations of local ordinances in regard to an incident involving their dog Blaze on Oct. 22.
The summonses are related to the dog’s aggressive behavior and for the dog running unsupervised off a leash, according to a press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
According to the prosecutor’s office, at 5:41 p.m. Oct. 22, the Keyport Police Department received an emergency call from an individual who reported seeing an aggressive animal cornering a female passerby and her dog in the vicinity of the 40 block of Pine Street.
Upon arrival at the scene, the officers were attempting to contact the owner of the animal that was running loose when they encountered the animal in a parking lot. The dog swiftly turned and advanced toward the responding officers.
At that time, one officer fired his service weapon, striking the animal in the shoulder. The dog retreated into a garage near the scene of the incident, according to the press release.
Authorities from the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals arrived on scene, subdued the animal and took the dog for treatment. The dog was reported to be in stable condition as of Oct. 25.
An investigation revealed the dog had been at the residence of a relative of Ferrara and Velez Jr. when it got loose and subsequently encountered the female passerby, after which a witness called police for assistance.
Under the guidelines of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office Use of Force Directive, the incident is being investigated and reviewed by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Responsibility Unit, according to the press release.
“This case has received an ample amount of attention online via social media. In the interest of transparency, we are releasing a responding officer’s body-worn camera footage, as well as the 911 call, to clear up any misconceptions of what happened and the circumstances surrounding the weapon discharge. It was an extremely unfortunate situation the officer was faced with,” Santiago was quoted as saying in the press release.
“From the beginning of the investigation, the Keyport Police Department has worked in conjunction with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office,” Keyport Police Chief Shannon Torres said. “We are pleased the body-worn camera footage is being released and that it presents a clear depiction of the situation as it unfolded for our officer.”
Anyone who may have information pertaining to the case is asked to contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Brian Hammarstrom at 800-533-7443.