Firearms officers from Northumbria Police have shot dead a fugitive cow following an escape attempt by some cattle.
Reports came in to the seemingly excessively-equipped police force on Sunday afternoon that three cows – which witnesses thought had escaped from a nearby farm – were moving towards the A1058 Coast Road, a busy dual carriageway in Newcastle that runs just north of the River Tyne.
Northumbria Police scrambled a helicopter, up to 20 cars and firearms officers to deal with one brown cow which was located in a field near the Coast Road.
The large domesticated ungulate, according to police, was in a highly distressed state and was considered by them to be a “significant risk” to members of the public and motorists. Bystanders said the cow was not moving.
Gun-toting cops at the scene decided to shoot the cow, although it is unclear how rapidly this decision was reached.
Talking to the Newcastle Chronicle, Barry Aitchison, 56, gave his account of the ordeal.
Initially, armed police asked to enter his house to shoot the cow from an upstairs window but there was not enough room for them to do so. Police instead used a neighbour's house as a vantage point from which to dispatch the bothersome bovine.
Aitchison said: "It was wrong for the police to kill a cow."
As is customary after such incidents, a Facebook page has been set to commemorate the life of the animal. More than 4,000 people have joined, sharing photos of the animal and discussing whether it should have been shot or just tranquilised.
The manager of the Rising Sun Farm, which witnesses thought was the source of the hoofed escapologists, contacted the Chronicle to say that the farm did not own any cows.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said that the two surviving members of the escape attempt – which may have come from the Rising Sun Country Park, rather than the farm of the same name – are still subject to recovery by the owners. ®