New Hampshire State Police are investigating whether a man walking his dog was guilty of reckless conduct when he shot to death another dog in the parking lot of the Hooksett Welcome Center on Wednesday afternoon.

The man told police his leashed dog was attacked by a larger dog that jumped out the window of a parked vehicle at the New Hampshire rest area.

“We are investigating this as a reckless conduct situation even though at this point in time it appears as though the shot and firing of the weapon was justified,” state police Sgt. Charles Johnston said.

Witnesses told police that they tried to separate the two dogs, but to no avail.

“The owner of the smaller animal that was being injured by the larger one pulled out his legally owned and carried firearm and shot and killed the larger animal,” Johnston said.

The larger dog was killed with a single shot. Johnston said the owner of the smaller dog told police he had tried several times to get the larger animal’s jaws off his dog.

The smaller dog was injured, but was expected to survive. It was taken to an area veterinarian for treatment, Johnston said.

The report of the shooting first came in at 1:10 p.m. By the time state police arrived, the bigger dog was dead. Officers helped place the dog’s body into its owner’s Dodge Durango, which had Rhode Island plates.

State Police would not identify the man who shot the dog, saying they continue to investigate.

“We’re still investigating the circumstances of the incident because a firearm was discharged in a public place,” Johnston said.

Anyone who saw the incident or has information that could help authorities is asked to contact Trooper Mike Barrett at 271-3636.

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