[UPDATE BELOW; also, here's video of the shooting] If you read the Daily News' report on the NYPD shooting a dog in the East Village yesterday afternoon, you may have found a silver lining in the first portion of the lede: "An unleashed pit bull survived being shot in the head by police." But this contradicts nearly every other report on the incident, and the NYPD spokesman we spoke to yesterday. "The dog is dead," another NYPD spokesman confirmed today. And nearly every report also corroborated what an eyewitness told us: the dog was defending its owner, and it was pepper-sprayed by officers shortly before it was shot.

The NYPD spokesman confirmed that officers discharged pepper spray on the dog before it was killed. "Pepper spray in no way would ever be effective in subduing a dog," says Doug Halsey, the director of Ready For Rescue, a non-profit animal rescue group. "I only see this as heightening the animal's aggression. This was an ignorant and irresponsible approach on these officers' part."

Dog trainer Taylor McKenna agrees. "I read somewhere that someone said the officers were kicking the man—that is absolutely the wrong thing to do. The dog is going to defend its owner." McKenna, who has worked with pit bulls and pit mixes for seven years, says officers should have "focused on the dog first. Get him out of the situation. A piece of chicken from the KFC would have been better suited to distract the dog. Pepper spray is going to make it go berserk."

The police spokesman said that two officers were treated for tinnitus, and were at the location responding to a report of an unconscious man. "The officers were flagged down by a pedestrian in the area and told that there was an unconscious man lying on the sidewalk," the spokesman said. "The man was intoxicated." The Local East Village reports that the man goes by the name Pollock, and the dog's name was Star. The pair frequented the area in front of the KFC, where a worker told a Post reporter that they were "friendly and harmless." Friends of the man told DNAinfo that he had epilepsy, and suffered frequent seizures.

"With the unfortunate frequency of police encountering aggressive dogs due to irresponsible owners," Halsey says, "it seems they need to be better trained to handle the situation and be equipped with the proper tools and taught how to use them to control dogs and other animals in situations like these."

McKenna agrees. "Considering that dogs, especially these type of dogs are so prevalent, it'd be a good idea for police to undergo some sort of training—spend time with these dogs, they're good dogs." He adds, "Especially this dog if it was off-leash all the time with no issues. It sounds like a clear-cut case of a dog defending its owner."

[UPDATE] Emily Tanen, a director at Project Pet, another non-profit animal rescue organization, points out that as of 12:16 this afternoon, Star was listed in an alert from Animal Care & Control as being alive but in serious condition. Below is Star's medical summary. We'll update with more information as it becomes available.

Medical Summary brought in by police was shot by police and tranquilized by unknown drug dog was sedated and covered in blood on head and front legs cleaned dog up and found blood to be oozing from left eye socket, and nostrils, oral exam-- larynx filled with blood, placed endotracheal tube, mass on distal left soft palate, crepitus felt(possible fx or final placement of bullet) swelling on left side of face no other abnormalities felt placed 2 iv cath in left cephalic and left saphenous veins, cont IV LRS bolus at shock rates (1000 ml) dexamethasone 2mg/ml 3cc iv vit B12 6cc IM gave 1cc yohimbine iv to reverse effects of xylazine? administered recc rads to find bullet and possibly remove transfer to emergency for observation and further tx Weight 45.0

[UPDATE 2] An employee at the city's Animal Care & Control facility on East 110th Street tells us that Star was transported there after the incident and is still alive, in the serious condition listed above. They refused to comment further on the dog's condition.

[UPDATE 3] Here's video of the shooting—warning, it's graphic.

[UPDATE, August 25]: Star is recovering—see photos—and will be put up for adoption!

With reporting from Nell Casey