Whanganui residents have criticised the actions of a police officers who shot dead a cow causing chaos in the streets of of the city this morning.

“It was dangerous for the police to be shooting with kids walking to school grab,” said another Whanganui resident.

However, the Royal New Zealand SPCA says police were within their rights to take down the cow in the interests of public safety.

Ric Odom, CEO of the RNZSPCA, says the officer made a quick decision when dealing with the runaway cow and was not able to wait for animal control to arrive.

Mr Odom says the fact the cow was shot multiple times is something the RNZSPCA would be concerned about but under these circumstances it appears the officer made the right decision for public safety.

“Shooting a moving target is hard, even if it’s a large cow.”

Police also tried to move the cow towards a nearby golf course, and say it had charged a man on a mobility scooter who was waiting at a pedestrian crossing.

It then headed towards a school, which prompted the lethal course of action.

Video with colourful commentary was provided to ONE News by a pair following the action from their car shows the cow running alongside a police car before the vehicle pulls over.

An officer gets out of the car, and is forced to fire as the animal heads towards them.

It carried on running down the street, before police catch up with it and a number of other shots are fired into it.

 “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.” said Senior Sergeant Paul Baskett of Whanagnui police.

“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.”

Source: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/-there-was-a-lot-of-blood-it-quite-horrific-whanganui-cop-draws-criticism-for-shooting-cow-q07172