02/19/2013 11:19 EST | Updated 04/21/2013 05:12 EDT

3 arrested in slaughter of 50 seals

RCMP on P.E.I. have arrested three people in connection with the death of 50 seals found on the shore on the southeastern tip of the Island in January.

The arrests were made on Friday and Saturday.

No charges have yet been laid, but RCMP say the three, all from Kings County, face Criminal Code charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

The suspects are all males — aged 15, 17 and 18 — and have been released to the custody of their parents, until their next court date, which is tentatively scheduled for April 11.

The seals, many of which were pups, were discovered by a group of veterinary students on Jan. 27. A subsequent necropsy on 10 of the animals found that they had been bludgeoned to death. Some had not died instantly, and had been left to die in the cold.

Investigators executed four search warrants on Friday, resulting in the seizure of items they say are connected to the crime scene.