WEST HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – Police in West Haven continue to look for information after a dog was set on fire at a beach on Friday.
Tuesday, they released a surveillance picture of a white pickup truck, the driver of which may have had information about the crime.
A short time later, police said the driver of the truck was identified, located, and interviewed by police.
The owner of the truck was determined to have no involvement in the incident, but did assist with the investigation.
Around 10 a.m., police and fire units responded to the area of Beach Street near Third Avenue and Second Avenue for the report of a fire.
The fire happened in the Sandy Point Beach parking lot.
Initial investigation found a small dog, possibly a 1-year-old mini Schnauzer, was found as the source of the fire.
The dog was found dead in the parking lot.
According to police, the investigation suggests the dog had apparently been set on fire and was abandoned there. Police also believe an accelerant was used.
Police are asking anyone who may have seen the fire or any other suspicious activity in the area between 10 p.m. on July 4 and 1 a.m. on July 5 to contact West Haven police.
Police are also asking anyone missing a small dog in the area to contact animal control or West Haven police.
PETA is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest for whoever is responsible.
The organization released a statement on Tuesday that said:
If this little dog was alive when he or she was set on fire, the agony and terror were likely intense and prolonged and are almost unimaginable. We must find and punish the person responsible for this horrific act, and if the animal's suffering isn't enough of a motivation, the link between cruelty to animals and violence against humans is well established, so this dog's killer must be held accountable and stopped from hurting anyone else. If police have no leads in this case, PETA will offer a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction on cruelty charges of whoever was responsible for this dog's death.
An organization called Green Fur Kids, Inc. also said it was collecting reward money.
In a Facebook post, it said it received a $10,000 pledge from Executive Auto Group. It reported close to $13,500 in total pledges and donations toward a reward for a suspect's arrest and conviction.
Thomas Green lives across the street from the beach where the dog was killed.
"You hear fireworks and it's Fourth of July, and you don't think too much of it," Green said.
But, Green said two or three people setting them off weren't shooting them in the air.
"It was going back and forth, people were running around. We couldn't really see anything," Green said.
Police are asking for surveillance, tips, or anything that can bring those responsible to justice.
"There's rescues all over the place. All you do is look it up. If you don't want an animal, someone will take it," Green said.
Police do not have a description of anyone involved at this time.
They also issued a warning about fundraisers that are accepting donations or pledges for a reward.
"The West Haven police are not involved in these fundraising activities and cannot accept any donations on their behalf," police wrote on social media. "Please do your own research and reach out to them directly if you choose to participate."