A New York sheriff says nearly a dozen porcupines have been found beaten to death but he can't take action against the teenagers suspected of killing them.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple tells the Albany Times Union (http://bit.ly/1OPXfs9 ) he's "outraged" by the situation because animal beatings can be a precursor to other violence.

Apple says he has the names of eight teens suspected of killing the porcupines but state conservation officers told him it's not illegal to kill them because they're considered "nuisance wildlife."

A Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman confirms porcupines aren't protected wildlife but says the agency doesn't condone wanton killing of animals.

Apple says the dead porcupines were found near Middleburgh along the border of Albany and Schoharie (skoh-HAYR'-ee) counties. He got a letter from a resident alerting him to them.

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Information from: Times Union, http://www.timesunion.com