The man who took the decision to shoot an escaped cow in Grantham last week has spoken out amid a continuing furore.
Superintendent Phil Vickers, of Lincolnshire Police, said the decision to kill the Belgian blue was a difficult one to make but he believes it to be the right one.
The animal was shot by two police marksmen in the car park of Belton Lane Children’s Centre last Monday, following a police chase lasting almost three hours.
Social networking sites, and the Journal’s website, were soon inundated with comments from members of the public, furious that the cow was not sedated instead of killed.
Supt Vickers said of the shooting: “In terms of an ideal solution, absolutely not.
“As soon as we had done that, I was well aware that people were going to be distressed and unhappy with the decision. But at the end of the day I’m satisfied that decision was made for the right reasons, and I’m satisfied that if I had not made that decision, it could have escaped and put people at risk.
“The criticisms would be very different if it had escaped and someone was injured.”
Supt Vickers said the RSPCA, the only organisation able to assist with tranquilisers, was contacted but was unable to assist.
He added that the length of time it would take to carry out a sedation, plus a risk of further agitating the cow and posing a greater risk to people, led to the final decision to shoot.
Two trained marksmen were called to the scene and were instructed to shoot twice in the body to incapacitate the animal, followed by a shot to the head and heart.
He confirmed that a total of three shots were fired.
A number of complaints have been received by the force from upset members of the public, to all of whom Supt Vickers said he has personally responded.