A Keyport couple faces charges after their dog acted aggressively toward a resident and prompted a police officer to fire his weapon on the evening of Oct. 22, Acting Monmouth County District Attorney Raymond S. Santiago announced Oct. 25.
Alexis Ferrara, 29, and Angel Velez Jr., 34, both of Keyport, were charged with possession of a dangerous dog and multiple violations of local ordinances in connection with the Oct. 22 incident involving their dog, Blaze.
According to a news release from the Monmouth County District Attorney’s Office, the summonses are related to the dog’s aggressive behavior and the dog running off leash.
According to the prosecutor’s office On Oct. 22 at 5:41 p.m., the Keyport Police Department received a 911 call from a person who reported seeing an aggressive animal cornering a bystander and her dog in the area of the 40 block of Pine Street.
Upon arrival at the scene, officers attempted to make contact with the owner of the running animal when they encountered the animal in the parking lot. The dog quickly turned and started toward the responding officers.
At that time, one officer fired from his service weapon and hit the animal in the shoulder. The dog went into a garage not far from the scene, according to the press release.
Authorities from the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals responded to the scene, subdued the animal and took the dog away for treatment. The dog is reported to be in stable condition as of October 25.
The investigation revealed that the dog was at the residence of a relative of Ferrari and Velez Jr. when it got loose and subsequently encountered a bystander, after which a witness called police for help.
Under the leadership New Jersey Attorney General’s Use of Force Directive, the incident is being investigated and reviewed by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Responsibility Unit, according to a news release.
“This case has received a lot of attention online through social media. In the interest of transparency, we are releasing the responding officer’s body-worn camera footage and the 911 call to clear up any misconceptions about what happened and the circumstances surrounding the gun. It was a very unfortunate situation that the officer encountered,” Santiago was quoted as saying in the press release.
“From the beginning of the investigation, the Keyport Police Department worked in conjunction with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office,” said Keyport Police Chief Shannon Torres. “We are pleased that the body-worn camera footage has been released and that it accurately depicts the situation as it unfolded for our officer.”
Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Brian Hammarstrom at 800-533-7443.