Maryland police are seeking information on a suspect they say purchased popcorn at a Maryland dollar store, emptied it in the parking lot to "intentionally" lure a group of seagulls and then ran over the birds with their car. The authorities said the person killed "at least" 10 birds in a social media post announcing the incident.

 

On Saturday, the Laurel, Maryland police department announced the alleged incident on its official Facebook page, with the header "ANIMAL CRUELTY: INFORMATION NEEDED."

 

Authorities said they responded to a report of animal cruelty at a local shopping center parking lot Saturday morning to discover "a group of deceased seagulls all in extremely close proximity to one another." Through an investigation, police said they learned a suspect bought a bag of pre-popped popcorn from the center's Dollar Tree store and emptied the bag in the parking lot to attract the birds.

Then, the police alleged the individual ran over the seagulls with their vehicle, killing at least 10 of them. The suspect then fled the scene.

Police said the incident is believed to have occurred sometime between 9-10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. They urged witnesses, or anyone with information about the alleged event, to contact the department.

If caught, the alleged perpetrator could face some very real consequences. President Trump signed a bipartisan bill into law in November, making animal cruelty a federal crime. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or PACT Act, bans abusive behavior including crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling and other bodily injury toward any non-human mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians.

Violators of the PACT Act now face criminal penalties of a fine, a prison term of up to seven years, or both.