Three grey seals and a dolphin were found dead on Tramore Beach, County Waterford, with “horrific” gun wounds.

On Wednesday, the BBC reported that Irish police are investigating the crime. The first two seals discovered on the beach were euthanized by the Waterford Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) along with local vets.

Johnny Woodlock from the Irish Seal Sanctuary released a statement. He said, “The Irish Seal Sanctuary was horrified to learn that adult grey seals were coming ashore dying from bullet wounds to their heads. The first, a mature bull seal, had been shot with what appears to be a .22 bullet to the head.”

On Thursday evening, Woodlock released an up-dated statement on their website. He said, “another seal in a similar condition has come ashore today along with a dead dolphin, both displaying wounds similar to those of the first two seals.”

The group said these animals were shot illegally with an authorized shooting license.

Woodlock said these animals should have been killed with a humane killing device, one which kills the animal outright, which they are not opposed to.

The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) said the protected animals were shot near Tramore on Tuesday, 21st February.

They said, “These animals suffered a horrible death having swam ashore with awful head injuries…The IWT is now calling for a full investigation by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Gardaí into this illegal act. Those responsible must be brought before the courts to demonstrate that the law will be upheld and such barbaric acts will not be tolerated."

Woodlock said the Irish Seal Sanctuary “understands that some fishermen are calling for a cull of seals but no-one can condone such a cruel and illegal act, exposing the public to a dying seal on a public beach is certainly not the way to achieve public support for fishermen’s interests.

“The Irish Seal Sanctuary is actively working with Fishermen’s organizations in an attempt to resolve conflicts between fishermen and seals. The Irish Seal Sanctuary has never opposed the properly authorized and licensed killing of individual seals, carried out in the authorized manner.”

He continued “Whoever is responsible for this illegal act in Tramore is acting against the interests of all responsible fishermen and firearms certificate holders and cannot be defended. We hope the authorities who are investigating this get all as assistance from the public to bring the offender to account.