OUTER COVE, N.L. -- Residents of a small eastern Newfoundland town are breathing a little easier after the rotting remains of a massive humpback whale were finally removed from their shoreline.

John Kennedy, mayor of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove, said Thursday that equipment lifted the whale's floppy carcass from the water and into a waiting dump truck that took it to a landfill in Sunnyside for disposal.

"I am very pleased that this is finally over," he said in an email. "The whale was removed last night around 8 p.m. following a 12-hour operation to net it and remove it from the water."

Kennedy said the dead whale washed in on May 22 and had been hemmed in near the shore of Outer Cove by a slab of ice, preventing it from floating back out to sea and fouling the air around the picturesque cove.

Kennedy said the 20,000-pound animal is estimated to have died a month before its unwelcome arrival in his town. Spectators flocked to see the approximately six-week-old decomposing humpback, with one person putting his dog on the carcass for a photo.

A local lab conducted recent testing on the beach in the area, and found no harmful pathogens outside the norm.

Federal Fisheries Department boats helped in the removal of the large whale, which Kennedy said earlier had been stalled by bureaucratic red tape. Kennedy complained that it had taken days of wrangling to arrange for the disposal of the partially submerged corpse.

Federal agencies resisted taking responsibility for the bloated mess, he said, adding that the town of 20,000 people doesn't have to resources to get rid of the remains on its own.

The carcass had washed over the beach, giving it an oily sheen, Kennedy said earlier, forcing him to consider declaring a state of emergency due to health concerns.