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By Autumn Ziemba, Fox 8 News Reporter

AVON, Ohio — Was it an act of compassion or cruelty?

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Some residents of Avon are outraged by the way a police officer handled a situation involving an injured turtle.

Avon Police Chief Richard Bosley told Fox 8 News that someone called the department on Aug. 28 to report a turtle on the side of the road that had been hit by a car.

An officer responded to the scene at the intersection of Detroit and Case, where the Chief said he found a turtle that was badly injured and was beyond rehabilitation.

Chief Bosley said the officer felt the animal was in pain and needed to be put out of its misery, so he shot it three times.

“In those situations, we do leave it up to the discretion of the officer.  I know they’re not vets, they’re not doctors, but sometimes they do have to make those decisions on the side of the road, of, is this animal beyond help?  And in that case, he felt that it was,” Chief Bosley explained.

The chief said with residential ponds and growing development in the area, roaming wildlife is common, and the officer acted within protocol.

But some nearby residents say those actions were extreme.

“It would have been better to take the animal to the vet,” said Lorain County resident Gloria Lowe.

“Call one of the wildlife rehab centers–that’s what I would have done,” said Avon resident Sheila Lewicki, adding, “that was so uncalled for.”

Chief Bosley said the department does work with a handful of area vets and wildlife centers, but on a case by case basis.