The man photographed throwing a dog into the sea has dismissed fears of animal cruelty by saying the animal loves it.

Scott Meredith, 22, of Manor Close, Southwick, was pictured by a passer-by hurling a Staffordshire terrier-cross into the water near Hove Lawns.

Police and the RSPCA launched an investigation into whether his actions constituted animal cruelty.

But unemployed Mr Meredith said: “I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

He said he only threw his cousin Adam’s dog Cassie into the sea because she was scared to follow his own dog Missy into the waves.

Mr Meredith said: “Missy jumped straight in. Cassie was yelling and itching to get in but the waves were up a little which put her off.

“So I picked her up with one hand under her neck and the other holding her belly and threw her.

“She loves it and once in the water she was fine. She wasn’t hurt and I only threw her in the once.

I’m not worried about the police or RSPCA because I haven’t done anything wrong.

“The pictures look like I m throwing the dog high but only the angle of the photo makes it look like that.

“Even when I was pulling the dog out of the water, I wasn’t being cruel. I was just stopping her from crossing on to a beach where dogs are banned.”

Mr Meredith’s uncle, who would only give his name as Danny, said the dogs were loved and well looked after.

He said: “I have been down there with the dogs. Where that groyne is, one side is 4ft high and the other side 10ft high.

“From where the picture was taken it does look a bit bad. But I know Scott and I know the dogs.

“I have taken them down there myself and they are perfectly well treated. If the police were that concerned, why haven’t they spoken to him?”

Police said they were investigating the incident last week, but have not yet spoken to Mr Meredith.

PC Lisa Timerick said she had looked at the pictures and would be taking witness statements before taking matters any further.