Jennifer Vaz was walking her own dog, Molly, near a New Jersey beach, when she heard whimpering. Below her, near the rocks and partially submerged by the incoming tide, was a cage with a 10-month-old pit bull inside.
“When I looked down, I saw these eyes looking back at me — these cute little puppy eyes all shivered up and scared,” Vaz told WABC on Tuesday. “I couldn’t believe that this happened in our town and somebody could be this malicious and do that to that dog.”
She immediately hopped the barrier to rescue him, calling authorities once she was home safe with the dog. Now the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating.
“The tide was coming in and the water had reached the cage,” the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement. “When animal control arrived on the scene the cage was almost covered by the rising tide. If not for the heroic rescue act of the good Samaritan, the dog could have potentially drowned.”
Vaz gave him the name “River” before she turned him in to authorities. She plans to adopt him.
Prosecutors believe the dog may have been left there between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. and says he is now in good health.
“Although River is a bit shaken up, he is in good physical shape and seems to have been well cared for,” the SPCA said. “We are working with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office to help bring justice to River.”
The center posted images on its Facebook page this week, showing him snuggled up with a uniformed police officer while sporting his new tags and collar.
It urged anyone with information about the dog or its owner to contact the Monmouth County Cruelty Hotline or the Highlands Police Department.