24 Aug 2015

Police shot cow in front of kindergarten

1:49 pm on 24 August 2015

A Whanganui man says the police badly botched the shooting of a cow that was running down suburban streets this morning.

Warning: Video contains images of an animal being shot.

Witnesses said officers shot at the cow about a dozen times after it had earlier charged at officers and a man on a mobility scooter. They eventually killed it on Alma Road near the intersection with Moore Avenue.

Police said the animal was agitated and they had no choice but to destroy it when it headed towards a local school.

But Tyler Fifield, who posted a video of the incident on Facebook, said it was the police who put the public in danger.

Fifield, whose friends filmed the police shooting the cow, said they handled the situation badly, and using a gun should have been a last resort.

"I've shot cows with 22s [calibre] before and can take them out easily. This guy was just drilling holes into it left, right and centre.

"The first shot, I think someone said they can even hear it clearly miss the cow.

"And in the end when it's running around on the road, the kindergarten is directly behind the cow, and they're just shooting straight at the cow, directly in front of the kindergarten," Mr Fifield said.

Mr Fifield said officers could have quite easily destroyed the cow in a park if they had to, and the police "absolutely" handled the callout badly.

"I'm from Whanganui, they have a couple of animal control officers there who are quite capable people.

"It would've taken nothing if they'd got some other patrol cars there and gently brought the situation down.

"There were plenty of much safer places they could've taken the cow before opening firing on it if that's what they thought the best course of action was going to be," he said.

Mr Fifield said his friends who filmed the incident had told him they never expected to see something like it in the middle of town.

He said they feared they too might be shot because the police were "firing randomly in all sorts of directions".

Senior Sergeant Paul Baskett of the Whanagnui police said, "This incident happened at a busy time in full view of the public and we appreciate this must have been a traumatic event to have witnessed.

"However public safety will always be our first consideration in these situations and our staff acted based on their immediate safety concerns at the time. This was a big animal and had they not acted there was a real risk that it could have caused serious injury."