North Attleboro police station

The North Attleboro Police Station, at the corner of Chestnut and South Washington streets, in downtown North Attleboro. (File photo.)

NORTH ATTLEBORO — A German shepherd found dead under a tarp in the parking lot of the Ruth Rhind Recreation Area last winter likely died of natural causes and was left at the location, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Thursday.

The female dog, believed to be between ages 5 and 8, died from gastric torsion, also known as bloat, according to Rob Halpin of the MSPCA.

The illness is common and can be sudden, Halpin said. The cause was determined after a necropsy on the dog at the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, he said.

The dog was found Jan. 6 lying on a sheet and a comforter and covered with a gray, lightweight plastic tarp in the Huntsbridge Road recreation area lot. Police said the animal had no tags or identifying information.

Halpin said the dog also had a skin infection and likely died somewhere else but was left at the recreation area. There were no witnesses and investigators have no information on how the dog ended up there, Halpin said, adding that MSPCA investigators have closed the case.

David Linton may be reached at 508-236-0338.

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