A dog and four bricks stuffed in a lobster crate washed onto a private beach on Eatons Neck, a mystery that authorities hope will be solved with the public's help.

Only a small patch of hair on the dog's back told them it had been black, said Jerry Mosca, director of Huntington Town's animal shelter, who responded with the town harbormaster Wednesday to pick up the dog's remains.

"Maybe this 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 a burial at sea," Mosca said Thursday. "I want to believe that."

The Suffolk County SPCA will see if a necropsy can be done to determine whether the dog was dead or alive when it was dumped.

The animal, which appeared to be an adult male pit bull mix, was found Tuesday night off Old Winkle Point Road by a local resident, said Roy Gross, head of the Suffolk County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The beach, backed by 200-foot high cliffs, is accessible only by boat and private-access steps, authorities said.

The dog was stuffed into a black coated-wire crate about 3 feet by 2 feet and a foot high, Mosca said. No tag hung on his black nylon collar, he said.

Someone had woven white nylon rope between the holes to keep the crate door shut. Turquoise-colored rope was also attached to the cage.

Unlike most lobster crates, this one did not a have a tag with a state ID number and the owner's name, said Huntington Town harbormaster Ryan Sammis, whose workers brought the crate to shore, where it was taken to the town animal shelter.

"We know most of the guys out there who have dogs," Sammis said. "It's definitely not a dog that I recognize."

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From the state of decomposition, Sammis and Mosca said the dog died a few days ago.

Gross said if the dog was alive in the crate, whoever put him there could be charged with felony animal cruelty, which carries a maximum of 2 years in prison.

"It was jammed into it, like you put your foot in a sock," he said.

Anyone with tips can call the SPCA at 631-382-7722.