A dog was accidentally impaled and killed by a tree branch, not a gunshot wound, while walking off-leash with its owner in the Winchester town forest on Monday, police said.
The owner told authorities he heard a gunshot around 6:30 p.m. and found his dog shot, Winchester police said in an initial statement Tuesday.
The owner also reported hearing a second gunshot about 15 to 20 minutes later, the statement said.
A necropsy performed by a veterinarian confirmed the dog was impaled by a tree branch and was not shot, said Sergeant Matthew Alford.
The owner heard a loud noise that was similar to a gunshot at the same time his dog was out of sight, Alford said.
There is no concern for public safety, he said.
Officers searched the area for over two hours and continued to monitor the area throughout the night, police said.
State Police and Winchester police with a ballistic K9 were also called to the scene, police said.
Winchester police contacted MSPCA law enforcement for assistance.