A mother and her three children were left devastated when they went to the animal shelter to look in on their beloved family dog only to discover he had been accidentally put down due to a paperwork mix-up.
The Varker family had left their 16-month-old Australian cattle dog, Blaze, at the animal shelter in North Carolina for 10 days of quarantine after it had bitten a family member, causing a minor injury.
But when Rhea Varker arrived at the Davidson County Animal Shelter on June 11 to check in on Blaze, staff couldn’t find him.
“They first go back to his kennel and take a picture and come back out and show me the dog, and it’s not my dog,” Varker told WXII 12. “My documentation that I filled out with animal control was there with the dog that they showed a picture of.”
Varker was asked to search the kennels herself for Blaze before staff told her the devastating news.
“The director comes out and pulls me to the side and explains to me that they accidentally euthanized my dog on Saturday,” she said. “The blame was left on the cleaning crew that comes in and cleans kennels basically stating that they just put the dog in the wrong spot.”
“My 8-year-old is my middle child, he’s very tender-hearted, very much a dog lover, animal lover of all kinds. He’s the one that it affected the most. He broke down and sobbed.”
Her husband Joey Varker told Fox 8, “We were offered any dog at the animal shelter. We were also offered $300 by the county manager, which I think is kind of insulting.”
“They told us they were sorry and along with offering us another dog, they came up with the amount that we paid for the dog that he would offer us,” Varker said.
His wife told WXII that they can’t simply replace Blaze. “Like they can offer us $10,000, that’s not going to bring our dog back. That’s not going to make our kids any less sad.”
The county manager, Jeb Hanner, told Fox 8 it was the first time something like this had happened.
“Normally there’s a process they go through. They get taken in, a picture made and all of that. And this was in between that stage, so we are taking extra precautions to double check that going in so that this doesn’t happen again,” Hanner said.
Blaze had bitten one of the children’s cousins last month, reported Fox. He could not be quarantined at home because they could not find his vaccine paperwork. They said he was due for a rabies shot, so he had to be sent to the shelter.
Assistant County Manager Casey Smith described the situation as “just a mishap with the paperwork,” according to WXII 12.
“We only have two people there on the weekend, and a lot of animals that come in and the paperwork got crisscrossed, and an accident happened,” Smith said.
“Out of 5,000 animals the animal shelter gets in a year times about four years since the county took the shelter back over since the UAC incident years ago we’re probably talking 20,000 animals, and this is the first time this has ever happened,” Smith said.