02/07/2013 07:48 EST | Updated 04/09/2013 05:12 EDT

RCMP take on seal slaughter case

RCMP on Prince Edward Island have joined the investigation into the death of 50 seals on the southeastern corner of the Island.

They're assisting enforcement officers from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The seals were found dead on the shore last week. Necropsies performed at the Atlantic Veterinary College determined they were clubbed to death and that some did not die instantly, but were left to freeze to death.

RCMP said they will be knocking on doors in the Beach Point area and looking for witnesses in addition to any other help DFO may request.

Humane Society International/Canada has offered a $5,000 reward for information on who killed the seals. RCMP said that may help.

"In some cases it does help because it brings people forward," said Sgt. Andrew Blackadar.

"I would hope people who do wish to come forward to report anything they know to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans or the RCMP will do so because their moral compass is telling them it's the right thing to do."

Interfering with marine mammals is illegal under the Fisheries Act, and causing undue suffering to an animal is punishable under the Criminal Code of Canada.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says there's no way to know when or how the investigation will end.