By CBSLA Staff

HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) — A reward for information in the attack and mutilation of dozens of brown pelicans along the coast of Orange County has grown to $5,500.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is contributing $5,000 to track down whoever is responsible for severely injuring more than 30 brown pelicans from San Clemente to Huntington Beach since October of last year.

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“It’s extremely worrisome that these pelicans have been the victims of a nine-month onslaught with no end in sight,” Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said in a statement. “Violence towards animals is a strong predictor of violence towards humans, meaning that these cruel attacks pose concerns for the safety of humans and animals alike.”

(credit: CBS)

Most of the pelicans were found with broken wings, and one was found with a twisted wing and bones protruding. Most did not survive, and those who did required emergency surgery and long-term care.

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Authorities believe the pelicans were intentionally injured, and the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center – which is nursing the pelicans back to health – is working with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife in investigating the attacks.

Anyone in California found to maliciously and intentionally maim or mutilate a living animal faces a fine of up to $20,000, up to three years in prison, or both.

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Anyone with information about the attacks on brown pelicans can make an anonymous tip to Fish and Wildlife officials at 1-888-334-2258.