London, Nov 11 (ANI): A Spanish court has ordered a probe into the killing of a dog, which was shot down to death after it was mistaken for an escaped lion.
Numerous witnesses had reported seeing a lioness feeding off rubbish bins on the outskirts of La Senia village in Catalonia in October.
The animal was believed to have escaped from a travelling circus and residents were warned to take precautions until the beast was caught.
Soon two helicopters, a 50-member team including four police forces, civil protection officers and wildlife experts launched an official search for the lion.
The hunt which is estimated to have cost nearly 90,000 pounds, ended on the fourth day when civil guard officers shot the animal after finding it in a chicken farm where it was feeding on carcases laid out as bait.
However, what was thought to have been a lion turned out to be a huge male dog, probably a cross between a "presa Canario" - a hunting breed originating from the Canary Islands - and a Brazilian mastiff.
Authorities said the three feet tall dog measured 4ft 9 inches from nose to tail and looked liked a female lion because of its short ears, wide head, and fawn colour.
El Refugio, a local animal protection group, approached the court in Tarragona arguing that the hound was harmless and could have been caught with the use of a tranquilliser dart.
"It is totally irresponsible for people, with all the modern means available, to kill a poor, helpless abandoned dog," The Telegraph quoted El Refugio president, Nacho Paunero, as saying. (ANI)