A female pit bull thought to be the one that mauled a North Merrick woman last month and then eluded capture for nearly three weeks was shot and killed Monday by police, officials said.

"Officers who were at the scene of the earlier incident tell us it looks like the same dog and animal control people tell us it looks like the same dog," Det. Lt. Kevin Smith of the Nassau County Police Department said.

He said the owner of the pit bull, who has not been publicly named, has been asked to identify the dog, which was taken to the shelter run by the Town of Hempstead.

The pit bull was shot by two Nassau officers and at least one state trooper in North Merrick, a few miles from the mauling, said Smith and a State Police spokesman, Trooper Frank Bandiero.

Bandiero said motorists spotted the pit bull on the eastbound side of the Southern State Parkway, between exits 24 and 25, and notified police.

Troopers and Nassau officers tracked the dog as it veered in and out of backyards to Jerusalem Avenue and William Street, where it was shot about 3:15 p.m., Smith said. The shooting occurred outside Precious Kids Too, an early childhood development center.

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"We heard a pop that sounded like the backfire of a car . . . Then we heard a series of them," said Arlene Levenstein, who works in a chiropractic office nearby. The dog was seen Sunday, but ran off, she said.

That's why chiropractor Lloyd Angel said he planned to carry a baseball bat when he walked his own dog nearby. But after the pit bull was killed Monday, he said: "I feel bad that they didn't capture the poor thing."

A female pit bull and her mate mauled Shashi Sharma, 62, who was walking at a senior center near her home Sept. 29.

After the attack, police shot and killed the male pit bull, but the female escaped.

Surgeons said Oct. 7 that Sharma needed three separate surgeries at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow to repair torn flesh and shredded muscle in all four of her limbs.