SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Investigators are working to locate the owner of an abandoned boat towed to shore with two pit bulls locked inside.

The boat was spotted just off shore on Tuesday, and was anchored but drifted out to sea with the high tide.

It was towed to shore by lifeguards, where animal control officers released the dogs from the cabin. The dogs had apparently been on the boat for at least 24 hours without water. They were initially protective of the vessel, but their demeanor became friendly once they were brought to shore, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Sgt. Bill Bender.

"It appeared the dogs were very thirsty, needed water and I don't know that there was any water for them on the boat," Bender said.

Lifeguards were able to identify the boat's owner, but didn't have a way to contact him.

"I think we'd all agree that it's irresponsible to leave two dogs cooped up in a cabin on a boat in a place where the boat didn't stay anchored," Bender said.