An animal cruelty investigation into the suspected drowning of a puppy at Mother’s Beach remains open despite a man’s claims that the dog died before he tied it to a shovel that was submerged by the rising tide.

The brown and white puppy was found dead by boaters on March 16 and presumed drowned by investigators. PETA, the Humane Society, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and two animal welfare nonprofits offered a total of $28,000 in reward money for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of the puppy’s killer.

Then late last week Sgt. Larry Ramage of the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station told the LA Times that a homeless man claimed the dog had been killed by a car earlier and he had taken the carcass to the beach to clean it before having it stuffed.

PETA responded by calling for further investigation.

“It’s possible that this dog’s death was a tragic accident, but a necropsy will show whether the dog drowned or was hit by a car,” reads a statement by PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.

“The case is still open and active,” said Aaron Reyes, deputy director of the L.A. County Department of Animal Control, which is now handling the investigation. “We’re aware of the conflicting information in this case, but we’re confident of the outcome.”

Reyes said the agency is “fairly close to moving forward” to completing its probe.

By Gary Walker