DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP/CNN) - The devastated Varker family is still trying to figure out how their dog was accidentally put down in what the animal shelter claims was a case of mistaken identity.
The Varker family planned to pick up their dog Blaze on Friday from the Davidson County Animal Shelter in North Carolina. The dog had been placed on a 10-day quarantine after it bit a young family member the week before, resulting in a minor injury.
“We followed procedure," father Joey Varker said.
The family received a document from the shelter, showing they were approved to get Blaze back when the quarantine ended.
But when Varker’s wife stopped by the shelter Tuesday to check on the dog, the workers couldn’t find him.
“When she got to the animal shelter, they showed her a picture of a completely different dog, and of course, my wife said, 'That's not our dog,'" Varker said.
That’s when she found out someone euthanized Blaze, just days after he got to the shelter.
“We were told that the cleaning crew put our dog in the wrong kennel, and that's how it got confused," Varker said.
County manager Jeb Hanner calls this “an unfortunate incident” that resulted from a mistake. He says this is the first time something like this had happened since taking over the shelter four years ago.
“Normally, there's a process they go through. They get taken in, a picture made and all of that. This was in between that stage, so we are taking precautions to double check that going in so that this doesn't happen again," Hanner said.
County officials say they feel for the Varker family and are working to rectify the situation.
But Varker says nothing can replace the loss of their beloved pet.
“We were offered any dog we wanted at the animal shelter. We were also offered $300 by the county manager, which I think is kind of insulting,” he said. “I just want answers, and I want it to be prevented from happening again.”
Hanner also says the family could have quarantined Blaze at home, if they provided proof of vaccinations. Varker says they were never given that option, and it’s no excuse for what happened.