OCEAN PARK, Wash. -- On the spectacular beaches that stretch along the southern Washington coast, a mound of sand disguises carnage.
It’s a half mile north of the town of Ocean Park. And it’s where a mother seal was run over by someone two weeks ago.
Herb McClintock had posted signs to protect the animal and her newborn pup.
“She was a fairly large seal. You’d think you’d see her. And I had red flags on my signs,” he said.
The pup is now missing.
In town, everyone’s talking about it.
“I hope they catch em,” said resident Sara Pearson.
The beaches of southern Washington are some of the few in the northwest where cars are allowed to roam.
Accidentally hitting wildlife is not unheard of, but running over a mother seal outrages many.
“Oh man! That’s really, you know? Why does someone want to injure an animal like that? Doesn’t make sense,” said resident Doug Hoffman.
Many in the area feel a connection to the wildlife on their beaches.
“Oh, I was just sick to my stomach. We’ve seen them before but we always drive around them,” said Ellen Smith.
Locals want whomever did it caught.
“Oh I was so angry. Just terribly angry. I mean this is the most beautiful place in the world and the people treat the animals so cruelly,” said Barbara Enos.
Federal investigators are working the case and asking for the public’s help.
“Certainly, [we are hoping to talk with] any possible witnesses,” said Kevin Mitchell, a law enforcement officer for NOAA. “But also the person that struck the animal, if they did not intentionally do this and realized what they had hit if they could come forward it would certainly end our investigation and we could resolve it much easier,” he said.
Investigators ask anyone with information in the case to call 1-800-853-1964. Callers can remain anonymous.