REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (CBS/AP) — Lifeguards at a Delaware beach drew criticism for placing a 4-foot-long dying shark into a trash can, but a beach official says guards acted in the interest of public safety. The Delaware News Journal reports an unresponsive shark that washed up on Rehoboth Beach over the weekend drew a crowd of onlookers, some of which were unhappy when guards disposed of it in a lined bin.

Beach Patrol Capt. Kent Buckson said putting the shark in the can “wasn’t the right thing,” but that it was the only option for limiting beachgoers’ contact with the lesion-covered fish with a possible parasite infection.

“The trash can wasn’t the right thing, but it was the only option at that time to protect the public from a possibly infected, dead shark,” Buckson told the Delaware News Journal.

He added that normally lifeguards would put it into a trash bag until public works could bury it, but the guards didn’t have a bag that day.

Buckson said he has counseled the lifeguards on the public perception issues that arose from the incident.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)