A Nelson man claims police shot his dog while searching the wrong house.

But police say they had a search warrant for his house and had no choice but to shoot it when it attacked a police dog on Friday.

Todd Douglas posted on social media at the weekend that his American pitbull Mud was shot in a "balls up" raid.

Douglas said he needed time to clear his head when contacted by the Herald today, but commented online that police were looking for someone next door when he and his partner were taken 1km away from their home so the search was carried out.

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He alerted police about their three dogs, but they were left behind.

"They were full warned about our animals but did not listen to us took us a 1km from our home and left our animals defenseless 2 were locked in the toilet inside held at gun point one that was shot lived in the sleep out they let him out and shot him he was trying to get back into his house but didn't make it...," the post said.

Douglas arrived home to find his dog dead in his backyard and told the Herald he has not had a response from police.

A police spokesperson said police and the Armed Offenders Squad carried out a search warrant at a Moutere Highway property looking for a male wanted by Police for violent offences who is believed to have access to firearms.

"While at the property, two dogs were secured by Police. As another building was being cleared, a large dog emerged and attacked a Police dog."

Police said the attacking dog was shot dead to protect the safety of Police officers and their dogs.

The police dog was not hurt and the wanted man has still not been located.

"Police work in a high risk environment and on occasion our staff do need to use tactical options such as a firearm to keep the community and themselves safe.

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"It is a rare occurrence for Police to shoot an animal, however on occasions it does happen. The decision to use a firearm is never taken lightly by frontline staff, who must make quick decisions in dynamic and ever-changing situations."