Millville Police Captain Ross Hoffman said a person driving on Kates Boulevard noticed the crate around 11:20 a.m. Wednesday.
That person discovered the dog and called police.
Inside the crate, police found a brindle pit bull mix, around six to nine months old. The dog was wearing a small sweater, and had its collar, leash and two pieces of fabric that investigators believe was used for bedding.
"People have put their animals in cages, tied them to trees dumped them in the woods, dumped them in areas and normally they end up dying from starvation," said Kathleen Leary, South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter Director of Operations.
Leary said animal abandonment occurs frequently throughout Cumberland County and wants to remind owners that there are options if they can no longer care for their animals.
"If worst comes to worst, we're here to do our best to try and place the animals," said Leary. "They can always call if they need help."
The department is asking for the public's help in determining the owner or who may have abandoned the dog.
A necropsy revealed the cause of death was human neglect.
Hoffman said the department is pursuing multiple animal cruelty charges,which includes jail time and a fine.