Family says vet accidentally euthanized their dog

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin family is reeling after they said their trusted veterinarian accidentally killed their dog.

The Briggs Family has filed a lawsuit and hope it leads to closure. 

If you walk past the rope swing, follow the stone stairs and go beyond the patio table, you’ll find Nya, a boy’s best friend.

“These flowers bloomed a few days after we buried her. I like to think Nya is still watching over us,” said 9-year-old Landon Downton.

The Briggs family said the only reason their dog Nya is now dead is due to the vet’s mistake. Nya was only at the vet for a routine spaying.

“He just offered up no real explanation,” Tina Briggs said about the vet. “Just said she’s here in the fridge for you whenever you want to pick her up.”

Later on, an accidental e-mail explained more.

“One of their employees at the veterinarian sent me an e-mail that was meant for another employee. It said we don’t know what happened, but we put euthanized,” Briggs said.

“I wanted to collapse on the floor and scream because I was really sad,” said Landon. 

Dr. Vandermause, the accused vet, has treated animals for over four decades. He said the Briggs family is mistaken.

“The allegation that I euthanized their dog is absolutely not true. I’ve been a veterinarian for over 40 years and this is something that just can’t happen in practice. There are too many variables and details that have to be completed before a dog is euthanized,” Dr. Vandermause said. “That e-mail has nothing to do with the dog being euthanized in any way.”

The Briggs family is still searching for answers. They said the doctor hasn’t responded to them for a while.

“They won’t return my calls or e-mails. Nothing,” Briggs said.

The family has hired a lawyer while they try to move on from their heartbreak.

“Nya was more than a pet. She was family. And it’s like when a family member dies, it’ll warm your heart thinking that they are watching over you.”

The executive director of the Texas Veterinarian Medical Association said there are no mandatory guidelines a vet must take before putting a dog down. He did say that most animal hospitals have policies where they receive a signature from the family before proceeding for safety’s sake.

If you need to make a complaint about a veterinarian, contact the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

They’ll ask you to fill out a form and send it in. They’ll recommend including as many details as possible. Then they’ll assign an investigator to your case. 

If an investigation indicates there was a violation, it’ll be presented to the board for disciplinary action. A penalty can range from a reprimand to a revoked license.

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