Officials find seals shot on a Cape Breton beach

Five seals have been found shot dead on a beach on Cape Breton's southwest coast.

Fisheries officials say they found the seals near Little Judique last Wednesday.

Federal spokesman Etienne Chiasson says the carcasses have been removed from the beach and an investigation is continuing.

It is illegal to disturb, harm or even approach marine mammals, except when hunting for them legally _ but the seal harvest in the area is not currently open.

Local residents say they were shocked by the gruesome find.

Charles MacDonald of Port Hood says seals usually come to that stretch of the shore in January to give birth on the ice _ but it's been a warm winter and the harbour hasn't iced over.

MacDonald says he's never heard of anyone finding seals shot dead in the area.