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Car crash stag killed by injection 'not shot' say Northern Ireland police

By Claire Williamson

A stag which police had said was shot after it got onto the A1 in Northern Ireland and caused an accident - was in fact put down by injection.

The A1, the main Belfast to Dublin road, was closed south bound on Wednesday between the Rathfriland Road offslip and the Outlet.

It has since reopened.

More: Animal rights groups furious as stag shot dead by Northern Ireland police

Police said the stag got onto the A1 and caused an accident. They originally said a vet was called who subsequently had to shoot the animal to prevent any further accidents.

But on Thursday they issued an update to say it was put down by means of injection, not shooting.

"Shooting had been mentioned and, as previously stated, was a last ditch option open to us however I've just been told by the crew that was on the ground nearest the animal that the vet was able to get close enough to administer an injection.

"Miscommunication on our part, apologies.

"The circumstances still remain though around the injury to the animal, the risk of injury to members of the public."

Police also said it was a "timely reminder" to watch out for wild animals on the road. In their statement they said the stretch of road had proved to be "fatal".

Officers said: "A timely reminder to watch out for wild animals on the roads. Thankfully no people were hurt on this occasion but a foot or so either side here and this could have ended up going through a windscreen."

In October a stag on the loose in Newry was shot by police as they said it posed a risk to the public and that shooting it was the safest option.

Animal rights campaigners said that other solutions should have been sought to pacify the animal.

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