FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey man has been convicted of leaving a pit bull puppy to drown last year in Monmouth County.

Aaron Davis, 36, of Long Branch, was found guilty of fourth degree animal cruelty Thursday.

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Prosecutors said he locked the 8-month-old dog in a small wire cage and then left the crate in Sandy Hook Bay, following a domestic argument on July 30, 2018.

A passerby spotted the cage and saved the puppy, later named “River.”

“If it were not for the passerby’s actions, the dog would have likely drowned due to the rising tides,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said in a statement.

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Davis could face 18 months in prison and up to a $10,000 fine at his sentencing in February.