BIG COPPITT KEY, Fla. -

A man was arrested after a dog was found dead in a cage in the Florida Keys.

The 30-pound Gordon Setter/American Eskimo mix was found in a cage in the water off Big Coppitt Key in September.

Deputies responded to the scene, pulled the cage from the water and recovered the dog.

After months of investigative work, Monroe County Sheriff's detectives arrested a Key West man on Monday.

Detectives were able to trace the cage in which the dog was found to Darrell Eacholes, 28.

They said Eacholes confessed to throwing the dog named "Bella" in the water.

He said Bella was very sick and that the family did not have the money to treat her. He claimed she was non-responsive at the time he threw her in the water.

Detectives said the necropsy could not prove the dog was alive at the time she was thrown into the water, so Eacholes is charged with unlawful disposal of a dead animal.

Bond for Eacholes was set at $5,000.