It was a raccoon, and it was dead before it was hanged in a tree in Bridesburg.

That's the finding of the Pennsylvania SPCA, which initially suspected that animal found Wednesday evening was a dog.

But the carcass had decomposed so much - for at least two days - that closer study was needed, said spokeswoman Wendy A. Marano.

It was spotted near the Delaware River waterfront off the 5600 block of Tacony Street.

"While the circumstances of the animal's final disposition were very disturbing, there are currently no laws regarding the treatment of animal remains if they are already deceased," she said.

"However, the Pennsylvania SPCA is continuing to investigate to determine whether the animal's death was a result of cruelty."

The raccoon was found with a stick in its throat.

Raccoons, dogs and bears are related, but belong to different animal families.

The animal's weight of 25 to 30 pounds was in the right range for a dog, Marano said.

Anyone with information about the case can contact the PSPCA at 215-426-6300.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.