Necropsy results show a German Shepherd mistaken as a coywolf was hit by a vehicle before being shot, according to the Nova Scotia SPCA.
"As we found out from the person who found the dog … they did hit the dog with their vehicle and it sustained some severe injuries," said Joanne Landsburg, the SPCA's chief provincial inspector.
"What they did was they ended up shooting the dog. And they had believed the dog was a hybrid-type dog or a coywolf."
Coywolfs are part coyote and part wolf.
The SPCA in Sydney got involved following a complaint Dec. 27, 2015. Landsburg would not say from who. The dog was identified as a German Shepherd and a pathologist with the province's agriculture department did the necropsy.
"It basically had a broken spine, multiple rib fractures and lots of hemorrhaging," said Landsburg.
The pathologist determined the dog would have had hind-limb paralysis, Landsburg said, but found the gunshot wound to the head was the ultimate cause of death.
"It was paralyzed and this was a humane way to put the dog down and put it out of its misery at that time," Landsburg said.
Landsburg said the driver posted pictures online.
There was some speculation online that "the dog was just shot by the person and that was not the case at all. It was indeed hit by a car," Landsburg said.
The dog was running at large at the time and Landsburg said this is an important reminder for dog owners.
"This particular case may have been an accident, but it's very important to make sure your dog is under control at all times."