Police in Lincolnshire have been labelled heavy-handed after they shot dead an 'aggressive' Belgian blue cow in a primary school car park.
The cow, which according to reports had charged at several members of the public, went on the run for three hours after escaping from its field.
A patrol car had chased the animal for four miles before it eventually jumped a fence into the car park of Belton Lane Community Primary School at around 5pm.
The pupils and staff, with the exception of the head teacher, had already been evacuated.
According to reports, police set up a 20-metre exclusion zone before firing two initial shots which failed to bring the animal down.
The marksmen moved closer to the animal before firing two further shots which killed the cow.
Today a Facebook page dedicated to the cow, entitled 'Grantham Runaway Cow RIP', had been set up and had over 2,000 likes.
A number of comments on the page and social media were critical of the police actions, Theo Charity wrote: “I can’t believe they shot a cow. It’s not like it was a ravenous bear.”
Donna Lawson wrote: “I am disgusted. What happened to tranquilizer darts?”
Lincolnshire police said that they had consulted the RSPCA and the owner of the cow in an attempt to resolve the incident, but that the animal had posed a danger to the public.
According to police it had jumped fences and ran at members of the public and police on a number of occasions.
Supt Phil Vickers said: "It is regrettable and sad that the incident ended with the escaped cow being dispatched by an armed police officer with a rifle.
"We tried everything we could to capture the animal but it became increasingly distressed, aggressive and unpredictable."
"The cow was shot in the grounds of Belton Lane Community Primary School when the pupils and most of the staff had left the area."
"I would like to thank the local community for their cooperation and understanding during the course of the incident. The safety of the public was paramount in our thinking throughout the event.”