NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ A distraught dog-owner shot dead his beloved pet and then himself rather than surrender the dog to the police for destruction, Cypriot police said Friday.

The police had asked Polydoros Schizas, 50, to hand over the dog after it bit a little girl. The authorities had planned to kill the animal in order to test for rabies.

Schizas was found dead in a field next to his dog on Thursday, the police said in a statement. He is believed to have committed suicide.

Earlier in the day he had disappeared, taking his dog with him.

``Because he did not return home, his wife went looking for him at a farm they keep and found her husband and his dog, both dead, with a shotgun resting between them,'' said the statement.