State laws mandate shelter animals be put down in a "humane way." But by not describing what constitutes "humane," Oklahoma legislation leaves the door open for a wide range of interpretation.
One such interpretation, according to the mayor, is to shoot them.
He told reporters on Thursday that the practice is legal, but also promised it wouldn't happen again.
"We are not going to shoot dogs anymore and we will try to work with local vets to help us," Washington said. "Shooting dogs is not a common practice, and this was a rare situation."
Angry Bristow residents like Beth Roberts feel it should never happen at all.
"It's not humane, period," she told The Daily Beast. "The way he's dragging them over, putting them in the hole first, then shooting them."
"We need to eliminate the practice of shooting these dogs in the head. It's barbaric. It's not up to the times. People are outraged."