Animal control officers in Fairfield euthanized an animal believed to be a younger coyote, but it was later determined that the animal was actually a family's small dog.
Fairfield Police Chief Christopher Lyddy said the animal, which appeared to be in a state of severe distress because of prolonged exposure to adverse weather conditions, was brought to a local animal shelter to be euthanized, per departmental procedural standards. State resources told police there were no rehab facilities equipped to aid the animal, officials said.
After the animal was euthanized, it was determined that it was actually a small dog that belonged to a Fairfield family, according to Lyddy.
Lyddy said the animal was identified as a young coyote by multiple individuals, including two animal control officers.
"The department has met in person with the family and offered its sincere and deepest condolences and apologies for the family's loss," Lyddy said in a statement.
An investigation into the incident in underway, officials said.
An animal control officer was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation's results.
Fairfield police, which oversees the city's animal control, is currently reviewing its internal procedures to work on preventing similar incidents from happening in the future, Lyddy said.
"This is a tragic and heartbreaking situation, and as a dog lover, my heart goes out to this family. I know emotions are high, but I am asking our community to please allow time for the police to investigate the full circumstances of what transpired," First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick said in a statement.