Editor's note: This story contains disturbing details.
Ontario Provincial Police have launched an investigation after disturbing video surfaced online that appeared to show one of its officers running over a dog three times with his patrol car before getting out, shooting and killing it.
The force admitted the officer killed a dog he apparently believed was a coyote in Collingwood, Ont., about 150 kilometres north of Toronto, on Monday night.
Christine Soti said she was at her home watching the results of the federal election roll in around 9 p.m. when she noticed an animal limping around her property, sniffing the ground.
She thought it was a coyote and it seemed, she said, to be acting strangely. The community was on edge, Soti added, because there had been coyote sightings and a number of cats had gone missing.
The animal was "almost in a daze," she said.
"It just wasn't right — there was something not right about it."
So she called animal control. They told her to call police, Soti said. She alerted a neighbour to the dog's whereabouts after he wandered away. That neighbour then called police after the dog lunged and growled at them, Soti said.
Then she stood with her neighbour, who recorded the incident on her phone, and watched as the officers arrived to deal with the animal.
Soti said she saw the officer run over the dog with his patrol car twice but the animal was still able to get on his feet and move. So he backed his patrol car farther down the street and accelerated, building up speed before running over the animal again, she said.
The video, which was posted to Facebook by one of her neighbour's friends, shows the sequence of events.
"The animal was still moving" even after he'd run over the third time, Soti said.
"The eyes were opening and closing," Soti said.
That's when the officer took out his gun and shot the dog, killing it.
"I haven't slept in two days and this morning I found out it was a dog," she said as she broke down on the phone with The Canadian Press. "I've been doing nothing but crying."
In a news release Tuesday, the OPP said they responded to a report of a coyote and said the animal was aggressive and possibly rabid, and had to be put down "for the safety of the community."
Acting Sgt. Lynda Cranney said "the OPP remain committed to the humane destruction of wildlife that present an imminent threat to public safety," but she conceded that the animal killed by the officer was a domesticated dog.
Cranney refused to answer further questions, saying only that the dog's owner had been contacted and that it was an active investigation.
She wouldn't say whether the officer in question has been reprimanded or if police had apologized to its owner.