Ten suspected poachers from Washington are under investigation for illegally killing dozens of animals in a case that one wildlife official called a "killing spree."
According to a post on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Facebook page, more than 100 animals were killed -- including bears, cougars, deer and elk — in Washington and Oregon in the shocking poaching case.
Wildlife officers believe a group of people from Cowlitz County, Wash., are responsible, killing the animals for the thrill, while recording the violations on camera, according to a report by Fox 12 Oregon in Portland.
"I consider it a killing spree. I'm completely disgusted. These people are wholesale natural resource murderers." — Deputy Chief Mike Cenci of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, told to Fox 12 Oregon (KPTV)
Officers have served more than 20 search warrants in the case, but charges have yet to be filed, KPTV reported. The names of the suspects are being withheld until charges are officially made. Investigators also said some of the suspects have prior hunting violations.
"There are a lot of good outdoorspeople who this is going to frustrate, anger and sadden, but it is important that folks know about issues like this," WDFW posted in the comments section of their Facebook page.
Reaction to the news on Facebook has ranged from shock to anger. One Facebook poster shared this comment:
"This is so horrible! Please do whatever's necessary to find and prosecute these butchers! And then, lobby for the more than maximum punishment!"
Disturbing video and photographic images showed bears mauled by dogs, many deer beheaded and other animals illegally hunted. It is illegal to hunt with dogs in both states, Fox 12 reported.
The investigation began last year with Oregon State Troopers found beheaded deer carcasses and used hidden trail cameras to identify two men actively breaking the law.