The black German shepherd found floating in the Shark River Inlet was buried at sea by his owner.

Ross Licitrea, the interim CEO and chief law officer of the Monmouth County SPCA, said the dog died of natural causes but because his owner, whose identity he wouldn't disclose, threw the dog into the ocean, the U.S. Coast Guard, Avon Police and the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office along with the MSPCA had to be involved.

The owner is a young man who is also a dog trainer and lives with with several other  people in Belmar.

"It was a young dog, about a year old. The owner came home around midnight and found the dog dead on the couch. It looks like there is no foul play," Licitra said. The man's story was vetted and checked out. "He actually had the dog tattooed on his hand," Licitra said.

"We're not going to pursue charges on the guy," Licitra said.

"People can't be burying their animals at sea, especially in our coastal waterways. It's illegal to do so. By doing so they cause an enormous amount of work for all of us," Licitra said. "You're not allowed to dump fish carcasses or anything else in there, so you're certainly not allowed to do this."

At the urging of friends who read about the discovery of the dog on Friday morning, the man reached out to the MSCPA.

"His brother works for a fairly well known animal welfare organization so we spoke to them and they vouched very highly for him."

Licitra said that the necropsy did not clear show a cause of death but there was no foul play involved.

In this case, he said the owner didn't have enough money to pay for cremation.

"You should really take it to a vet or a crematorium and have the body disposed of properly," said Licitra.

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