A beloved elderly pony that escaped from his barn stall and went for a stroll one night was shot dead by police for no good reason, according to a furious family in Oregon. A neighbor called police after she found Gir, a 30-year-old American Miniature Horse, lying in her yard in Clackamas County last month. Police say a deputy fatally shot the horse after deciding it had been hit by a car, had two broken legs, and was unable to stand, according to KATU—but owners Crista and Adam Fitzgerald sent it to a veterinary lab for a second opinion and discovered it was in good health apart from arthritis and didn't have any broken bones. "It wasn't that Gir couldn't stand up, it was probably that he didn't want to," Adam Fitzgerald tells the Portland Tribune. "He was a stubborn horse. We were late getting out to the barn that day, and he didn't get his pain medication."
Police say the deputy called his supervisor and a veterinarian before deciding to euthanize the horse, but the vet tells KATU that the officer rejected his offer of assistance and said he would "take care of the problem on his own." Authorities also say the deputy called the humane society first, but the Oregon Humane Society says it never got a call. "This whole situation is messed up," Fitzgerald tells the Tribune, saying that since there are thousands of horses in the area, police should have more training in handling these situations. Gir, he says, "was a well-loved pony, a member of the family," and had been passed down from his older daughter to his younger daughter. Thursday, the county sheriff apologized to the family, admitted a mistake had been made, and said his office is "exploring ways to make this as right as we can," KOMO reports. (These cops, on the other hand, saved a dog that had been shot and tied to railroad tracks.)