Texas Vet Allegedly Euthanized Dog by Mistake, Devastating Family: 'I Wanted to Collapse on the Floor and Scream'

A Texas family has claimed a veterinarian euthanized their pet dog after they brought her in to be spayed. But the vet in question told KXAN the family was mistaken.

Lisa Briggs told the local station her family were initially unsure sure how their dog, Nya, had died. But Briggs was then included in an internal email she said suggested the dog was killed in error.

At first, veterinarian Charles Vandermause, "offered up no real explanation" for Nya's death, Briggs said. He "just said she's here in the fridge for you whenever you want to pick her up," Briggs added.

Briggs then received an email intended for an employee that suggested Nya was euthanized by mistake. "One of their employees at the veterinarian sent me an email that was meant for another employee. It said 'we don't know what happened, but we put euthanized,'" she told KXAN.

Briggs said the facility stopped responding to her calls and emails.

But Vandermause, who owns Crystal Mountain Animal Hospital on Bee Caves Road in Austin, Texas, said the family is wrong about what happened.

He told the station: "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… That e-mail has nothing to do with the dog being euthanized in any way."

A spokesperson for the Crystal Mountain Animal Hospital later told Newsweek the dog had died after suffering an allergic reaction to an anesthetic. They added a veterinary board had come to this conclusion.

Nya's death deeply affected her 9-year-old son, Landon Briggs. "I wanted to collapse on the floor and scream because I was really sad," he told KXAN. "[Nya] was more than a pet, she was family, and, it's like if a family member dies and it'll warm your heart thinking that they are watching over you."

The Briggs family said they have filed a lawsuit over Nya's death. The Crystal Mountain spokesperson said the animal hospital would resolve the case legally and accused Lisa Briggs of attempting to "extort" the small business.

Crystal Mountain said in an email: "We are deeply sorry for this little boy and his family's loss. Mostly we are sorry that he is being told an alternate story to reality that only serves to exacerbate the pain of losing a treasured family pet."

Although accidental euthanization is very rare, several cases have been reported in the U.S. in recent years. An Amarillo, Texas family's dog was accidentally killed during a spell at an animal shelter in 2018, ABC7 previously reported.

Gordy was taken to the city's animal shelter after escaping Miranda Harper's garden and biting a mailman. He remained at the facility for 10 days before the shelter decided to allow him to return home. But an employee misread an email about the dog and euthanized him by mistake.

Also in 2018, an Illinois dog that bit a maintenance worker was killed in error during his subsequent stay at an animal shelter. "They said they would like to keep him for 10 days under quarantine, just to make sure that everything was safe with him," Jennifer Wang told local station WMBD.

Tazewell County Animal Control later informed Wang and her husband a staff member had euthanized their pet by mistake.

This article has been updated to include comment from a spokesperson for Crystal Mountain Animal Hospital.