Beachgoers in Ventura witnessed a pickup truck dragging a dead dolphin along the beach on Sunday – but, the harbormaster claimed it was the best way to deal with the carcass.

Video of the incident was sent to KTLA by a Justin Avila, who questioned why the dolphin wasn’t simply placed in the truck or dealt with more humanely.

“It was disturbing,” Avila said in an email.

The Harbor Patrol told the tv station it did the best it could under the circumstances:

California State Parks and the Harbor Patrol decided to use a pickup truck to tow the animal instead of loading it into the truck’s bed so that the vehicle would not need to be decontaminated and could remain in service for medical, emergency and law enforcement calls, Ventura Harbor Patrol Harbormaster John Higgins told KTLA on Monday.

“Our area tries really hard to provide exceptional services and the efficient removal of this dolphin was our best attempt to deal with a difficult situation,” Higgins said in an email. “The other option that could have been utilized would have been to leave it in place over the weekend and possibly longer.”

Higgins claimed that the dolphon was taken by boat out to sea because it likely would have washed up again.   He added that officials decided to use the “least amount of manpower” to remove the dolphin.

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