The story of Lucy the dog who ran away on a beach walk has come to a heartbreaking end after she was shot on farmland.
The golden collie, a therapeutic dog owned by Melua Watson and her family, went missing from Ocean Beach on July 13.
Watson said the family had been informed by the Hastings District Council's animal control that Lucy had been found on a sheep farm and shot.
"The council's after hours service had received an anonymous call on Friday night to say that 'the dog that people are looking for is no longer with us as it was caught worrying sheep'."
"We are devastated at the outcome, but grateful to know what happened as we were still searching for her yesterday.
"Lucy was a good family dog and has never attacked another animal. She was a young townie dog lost in the country trying to get home."
Melua said the Watson family had no ill feelings towards the farmer, as Lucy went missing the same week another dog was attacking sheep in Twyford.
"We understand farmers must be on high alert."
She said the family had tried their best to find her, including putting fliers in farm letterboxes around Ocean Beach and Maraetotara, talking to members of the community around Ocean Beach and Waimarama, and calling farmers in the area.
"Our family has been blown away by the aroha for Lucy from the Hawke's Bay community, and wish to thank everyone who looked for her. We will be planting a special tree for her at her favourite park."
Watson had previously described Lucy as "irreplaceable" due to the therapeutic role she played for the family following a tragedy.
The family imagine something had spooked her, causing her to take off from Ocean Beach, as she was quite a timid dog.
Lucy's collar and registration tag was handed into the council and returned to the family.