FREEHOLD –   A Keyport couple are facing charges after their dog acted in an aggressive manner towards a resident and prompted an officer to fire his weapon on Saturday evening, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced on Tuesday.

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 regards to an incident involving their dog Blaze on Saturday night. The summonses are related to the dog’s aggressive behavior and for the dog running unsupervised off of a leash.

On Saturday night October 22, 2022, at approximately 5:41 p.m., the Keyport Police Department received an emergency call for an aggressive animal cornering a female passerby and her dog in the vicinity of the 40 block of Pine Street. Upon arrival, officers were attempting to contact the owner, when they encountered the animal in a parking-lot area. The dog swiftly turned and advanced towards the responding officers. At that point, one of the officers fired his service weapon, striking the animal in the shoulder. The dog retreated into a garage near the incident. Authorities from the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MCSPCA) arrived on scene and subdued the animal and took the dog for treatment. The dog is currently in stable condition.

The investigation revealed that the dog had been at the residence of a relative of Ferrara and Velez Jr., when the animal got loose and subsequently encountered the female passerby, after which a witness called Keyport Police for assistance.

You can listen to that 911 call below:

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.

“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 (BWC) 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 that the officer was faced with,” Acting Prosecutor Santiago stated.

“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 that the BWC footage is being released and that it presents a clear depiction of the situation as it unfolded for our officer.”

For anyone who may have information pertaining to this case, please contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Brian Hammarstrom at 800-533-7443.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

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