ASBURY PARK — A week after a suitcase with a pit bull inside was fished out of a lake, PETA is offering a $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest of whoever is responsible.

"This community needs to know whether this dog was dead or alive when he was put in this suitcase, because a dog abuser may be at large and strike again," PETA Vice President Colleen O'Brien said. "PETA urges anyone who has information about who had this dog in their possession, whether he was used in fights, and how he died to come forward now."

The suitcase was noticed floating in Sunset Lake as people left Asbury Park's fireworks display the night of July 4.The suitcase is described as a black nylon Forecast suitcase with a handle that comes out of the top allowing it to be pulled by the user.

"That's a great inspiration," Ross Licitra, the Monmouth County SPCA interim president said of the offer. "It's a generous offer to help solve the crime."

Licitra said PETA reached out to the MSPCA before making the offer.

O'Brien said PETA has had success in offering rewards in similar cases where there are few leads.

Licttra said there have been no credible leads as to who put the suitcase in the lake so far. He estimated that the suitcase containing the partially decomposed body of a brown-colored male pitbull inside with a few spots of white on him had been these for 1 or 2 weeks before it was discovered.

The suitcase also contained a necklace and a button that reads "I (heart) Howard University."

PETA is offering the reward "for information leading to the arrest and cruelty-to-animals conviction of anyone who may have been responsible for the fatal abuse or neglect of this dog."

The SPCA is asking anyone with information about the suitcase to contact it at 732-542-0040 or the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office at 732-431-6400.

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