A police decision to shoot dead a cow which had escaped from a paddock has been met with fury.
The animal was killed in an operation involving armed officers and a helicopter in Newcastle upon Tyne on Sunday afternoon.
The animal had escaped from a nearby farm and was reported to be roaming close to a busy dual carriageway.
The Coast Road was closed in both directions in an attempt to recover the cow, a Northumbria Police spokesman told Huffington Post UK.
But the “highly distressed” animal was considered to be a significant risk to members of the public and motorists and was destroyed by firearms officers at the scene.
Since the incident, a Facebook page has been set up dedicated to the unlucky bovine.
Almost 5,000 people have “liked” the RIP Wallsend Cow page in just a day.
Among the posts are those deriding the police for shooting the animal dead, asking why it was not merely tranquilised.
“Fooking shocking really?,” said Maria Foreman. “Could the police not rub their two brain cells together and come up with an idea! Like just tranquilising the poor animal and save all the cost of extra armed police and helicopter? It’s just a cow for gods sake.”
Linda Forster wrote: “Poor thing, did they really have to shoot it?”
Meanwhile Carole Gregory wrote: “The police can’t do right for doing wrong, if the cow had caused a pile up and killed one of your family there would have been hell on!”
Andy Thompson added: “If they had to wait for a vet to turn up it may have taken too long. What if it had got onto the Coast Road? You could have been travelling down there with your kids in a car. Can’t imagine the carnage hitting an animal that size at 70mph could cause?
“Police don’t (now correct me if I’m wrong…) carry cow tranquiliser darts, high street vets would not have been able to deal with it. Sad to see but probably the quickest way to save a possible major traffic incident. A clean shot from a trained marksman may have saved lives of someone here’s family!”
They later entered his neighbour’s property and shot it at 5.15pm.
He said: “It was wrong for the police to kill a cow.”