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Animal cruelty or burial at sea? Dead dog discovered in lobster crate

Stack of lobster nets.
Stack of lobster nets.Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Authorities in Suffolk County, New York are trying to solve the mystery of a dead dog found crammed into a black-wired 3-foot by 2-foot lobster crate along with four bricks after it washed up on a private beach off Old Winkle Rd. in Eaton’s Neck Tuesday. Eaton’s Neck is a small hamlet of roughly 1,400 people located in the Town of Huntington on Long Island’s North Shore. The only access to the beach is by boat or private access steps.

According to Jerry Mosca, director of the Huntington Animal Shelter, someone had taken the trouble to remove any tags from the crate, as well as weave white nylon rope between the holes to keep the door closed. He also said that “turquoise-colored rope was also attached to it.”

The dead dog is believed to have been an adult black male pitbull mix. While local harbormaster Ryan Sammis, whose workers brought the crate ashore, said he knew of a lot of boat owners who brought dogs with them when sailing, he did not recognize this one.

Judging by the condition of the corpse, the dog had only begun decomposing a few days before it was found. A necropsy will now be performed to determine whether or not the dog was alive when it was placed in the crate. If so, whoever put him inside could face charges of animal cruelty, which carried a maximum sentence of 2 years in prison.

Still, it is too soon to say whether it was a criminal act or merely a “burial at sea.”

“Maybe it was a fisherman that took a dog out on the water with him every day, and who knows, maybe the dog passed away and he was doing just giving it a nautical send-off,” remarked Mosca. “I want to believe that.”

Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the Suffolk County SPCA at 631 382-7722.