Dutch police have shot dead four reindeer that escaped from a Christmas sleigh display, fearing they might run into traffic and cause accidents.

Police spokesman Dirk Neef in the northern Dutch province of Drenthe says animal experts attempted capturing the fourth reindeer Tuesday by stunning it with tranquilizer darts, but that proved impossible. Three of the animals were shot and killed hours after their escape on Saturday.

Owner Willem Poelman says he purchased the reindeer for a show at his small business, "Poelman Donkey Park" in the city of Marum, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Amsterdam.

But the animals broke loose within minutes of their delivery from a supplier in Latvia.