HIGHLANDS — A warrant has been issued for the man police say is responsible for leaving a 1-year-old pit bull inside a cage in the water as the tide rolled in.

Aaron D. Davis, 36, of Long Branch, is wanted on charges of abandoning the dog that a rescuer renamed "River," according to Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Chris Swendeman.

On Monday morning, Jennifer Vaz and her own dog Molly found the abandoned dog in a small cage on the shore of Veterans Memorial Park.

Jennifer Vaz and "River," the dog she found in the ocean off Highlands (Monmouth County Prosector's Office)

Vaz took River home and called police. She said Molly helped River come out of his cage by walking in and licking River's face. The dogs played together and napped before Vaz took the rescued animal to the Monmouth County SPCA's office.

River will be returning to Vaz's home while the investigation continues.

Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office

Swendeman asked anyone with information about Davis' whereabouts to call the MCPO Animal Cruelty Hotline at 877-898-7297 or Highlands Police at 732-872-1224.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ