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Owners of Euthanized Dog May File Lawsuit

Allen and Alison Holmes, of Occoquan, lost their 17-year-old dog Basie when she was euthanized without their permission at Crosspointe Animal Hospital in Fairfax Station.

The owners of a dog euthanized on Nov. 1 without their consent said Nov. 13 they have not yet decided whether they will pursue legal action at this time.

Allen and Alison Holmes, of Occoquan, lost their 17-year-old dog Basie when she was euthanized at Crosspointe Animal Hospital in Fairfax Station.

According to WUSA-9, Basie was out in the backyard on Nov. 1 without her collar because her collar irritated her neck. Allen checked on her every few minutes.

"She was actually doing pretty well that morning," he said. "She'd eaten. She'd gone to the bathroom. She was drinking out of the wash basin. I thought that was cute. She did have trouble moving but she was able to walk."

He snapped a picture of her drinking from the wash basin at 12:06 p.m. When he came back 15 minutes later, she was gone.

A client of Crosspointe picked Basie up and took her straight to the animal hospital, saying she found her in the woods and she thought she was a stray. Basie was euthanized at Crosspointe later that afternoon. The Holmes found her cremated body at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter the next day.

Crosspointe would not comment further on the euthanization.

"The animal hospital told us themselves that they decided for humane reasons that the dog should be put down," Alison said. "They did say that they had to ask the shelter for permission."

According to Virginia Code § 3.2-6507, a licensed veterinarian who encounters a sick or injured dog may euthanize the dog without the owner's permission.

Since the Crosspointe client had told the animal hospital that Basie was from McKenzie Drive in Occoquan, Crosspointe contacted the Prince William County Animal Shelter and asked them to come pick the dog up, Allen said. Prince William County refused, he added.

"What gets me is the time that they decided to euthanize her," Allen said. "I took a picture of her at 12:06 p.m. The shelter had her body at 3 p.m. I hold the vet responsible."

The Crosspointe managers have refused to talk to Allen or Alison.

"The shift supervisors gave us the exam record and they said that she arrived at 12:20 p.m. The picture that I took was at 12:06 p.m. It's about a 10-minute drive to the shelter," Allen said.

"We had no chance of finding her in that time," Alison said. "When we did find her, it was only because of our tireless searching. No one called us."

The hospital has not released the name of the person who picked Basie up.

Alison said that Basie was a very slow-moving dog, and it was unlikely that she could have wandered very far off the property in only a few minutes time.

Allen said that the few rows of trees near their farmhouse could hardly count as woods.

"The shelter knew she was from McKenzie Drive. If the person picked her up from our street, it must have been within a block of our house," Allen said. "It certainly could have been a person who thought they were helping her. She was a bag of bones, no denying that. But she was still alert and responsive, according to the vet."

Alison recalled a visitor who stopped by the farmhouse a few months ago to ask if Basie belonged to them.

"She was really worried about Basie. She pulled over and tried to give her food and water in the yard," she said. "I said, 'Thanks for your concern; we love her, we adore her, she's just really old."

Allen said that they fed her only the highest quality dog food.

"We really took care of her," he said.

Allen and Alison are left with their memories.

Allen first got Basie, a Corgi / Border Collie mix, almost 17 years ago.

"A woman was selling puppies out of a trailer in Centreville," Allen said. "She was extremely smart and well-behaved. I never really needed a leash with her, and only used one when required by law to do so. One of my fondest memories was when she was lying in the yard, and I would call her to come in, and she would sort of sink into the ground like Border Collies do."

Alison called her a great mediator, saying that she could interact well with any dog they met.

"She was just a delightful dog," Allen said. "We wanted to be there if she was euthanized. We didn't feel like it was quite the time, but somebody else did."

How do you think the animal hospital and the shelter should have handled this situation? Respond in the comments.

Dan Telvock November 14, 2011 at 10:14 PM
Folks, what went wrong here? How do you think the animal hospital and the shelter should have handled this situation? Do you have an idea to prevent this from happening?
Violettenoire November 15, 2011 at 01:52 AM
PLEASE HELP! DOGS AND CATS ARE BEING KILLED EVERY DAY :( ADOPTERS / FOSTERS DESPERATELY NEEDED!!! BE PART OF THE SOLUTION! Urgent Death Row Dogs: www.urgentdeathrowdogs.org Urgent PART2 on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Urgentdeathrowdogs Dogs About To Die :( http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.206358356043718.56767.152876678058553&type=1
boseamus November 15, 2011 at 05:16 PM
It is difficult to consider whether the pain of the human animal is of more significance than that of another. Of course, there will be many for whom there is nothing to be considered, so certain are they of their reality, Gods bless Basie and those who loved her.
Jenni November 15, 2011 at 06:19 PM
IMPO, This is a pretty clean cut case of owner neglect. You don't let your pet out with out a collar (and tags) for ANY period of time!!! If the collar bothers them, fine, keep them inside and only put it on when letting them outside. 10-15 min in a collar won't hurt them. If the yard is not fenced, then you never let them out with out having eyes on them at ALL times. Alot can happen to a dog in 15 min of unsupervised time. And this just proves it. How was the vet suppose to know the circumstances of situation. As far as they knew the dog could have been out there for a week, and been exposed to rabies, especially in a wooded area or "Farmhouse" area. Take better care of your pets folks and things like this wouldn't happen.
John November 16, 2011 at 12:01 AM
Owner should not have let Basie out without a collar and ID tags. But also Vet was pretty fast to euthanize. Vet should have allowed some time -- maybe 24 hours for owner to locate missing dog.
Tony November 16, 2011 at 04:07 AM
Basie was in the owners yard!! The animal control and vet shouldn't have euthanized her that quickly. They should have kept her for at least 24-48 hours to see if anyone came looking for her. Just because she was 'old' does not mean she was useless, not loved or a 'family' member to someone. This is a sad situation of a person trying to do something good by helping Basie but ended very terribly. I hope the owners can sue the vet and animal control for allowing a dog to be killed so quickly.
Jen November 16, 2011 at 03:25 PM
This vet should have their license revoked and be charged with animal cruelty. The individual who took the dog should be charged with kidnapping and accessory to animal cruelty. Basie was a family member murdered by these individuals. It is completely unacceptable to just let this go as a 'mistake'.
Casey November 16, 2011 at 10:03 PM
The vet should of held on to the dog and waited to see if the K-9 was claimed. I would have to do more then sue!
Heather B November 16, 2011 at 10:11 PM
Owners are responsible for their pet at all times. The owners let their super old, slow dog outside with no collar & ID and NO FENCE! Why was the owner not outside to monitor this dog, how did they think someone could find the dogs owner with no microchip or ID if the dog wondered off. If like stated in the story, the owner was checking on the dog every few minutes, why could he just not stand outside with his dog? They have no place to sue - there is a leash law and they did not follow it. As very sad as this is for the owners to have lost thier dog & to have not been there is really heartbreaking. The problem is, this is how old dogs end up in shelters, people let their dogs loose, no ID and bam, they are on death row. Thats how I adopted my old dog Rex last April, he was on death row, he is deaf and has major nuro issues, has a hard time walking - he is now microchipped and has his ID TAG on at all times and it also states he is special needs. BUT if in the event I was negligent enough to let my old Rex outside with NO ID, NO CHIP and NO FENCE, if someone saw his condition not knowing him they would absolutely think he was on his last leg and I would thank someone for caring enough to let him go in peace instead of hit by a car and laying their to spend his last hours suffering. Absolutely, the vet did the right thing. The owners are responsible.
Cat November 16, 2011 at 11:43 PM
People are idiots! Everyone keeps saying "no collar, no chip = owners fault" These must be the same people that think the people struggling currently to find a job, is also their own fault. Microchips are not the law, a dog should wear a collar yes, but when in its own yard or home you should have the right to take it off or put it back on at will. The vet had no business putting the dog down, it is the vet's horrible mistake. The vet seems to be lying as the news reports and the county reports dont match what the vet is saying. I am starting to believe some nosey neighbour stole the dog out of their backyard thinking it needed to be put down because it was 17. Why in the world would the person cart the apparent stray dog to the next county? This person should come out and make a statement about how they ended up with the dog and why they chose that particular vet.
Kim Ranae Lanus-Saice November 17, 2011 at 07:27 PM
Yes, the owners are to blame...HOWEVER...the vet should NOT have just immediately put this dog down without doing a little homework first and let the owners try to call and claim their dog. It doesn't matter if they didn't know how long this dog was lost! It was just MINUTES for crying out loud! I feel the vet just didn't want to waste their precious time with an elderly dog. Yes, people should keep some type of an ID on their dogs when they are outside. Microchips are NOT the answer as not all microchips can be read by all microchip readers. Dogs get lost all the time. Why was this vet in such a hurry to euthanize someone beloved pet so quickly? I guess I wouldn't be bringing MY pets to this particular vet who seems to have NO compassion what-so-ever! AND PS...if this dog HAD been exposed to rabies, like another person said...they would do a 10-14 day hold IF the owners could not provide proof of rabies vaccination. So THAT'S a moot point!
amanda November 21, 2011 at 08:09 AM
It sounds like this stranger who stopped by before was just waiting for the right moment to snatch the dog from the yard. Whether or not the dog had a collar on isn't the issue. The dog was slow moving, it was used to staying in the area for years, I feel positive in saying that someone purposely stole this dog. And for it to be client of the vet, sounds like they probably convinced the vet that they saw the dog struggling but wrote it off as a stray. It sounds very very fishy that no one from the vets office will talk to the owners. I will never recommend this vet office!! If you believe you did the right thing, then grow a pair and explain why to the owners. Sounds like they're covering up a scheme.
amanda November 21, 2011 at 08:32 AM
Notice how the photo was taken at 12:06, read the story on CPAHs website about when the call was made to them. The person saw Basie in her own backyard even before the photo was taken. Now, after reading that, I am almost certain Basie was on her own turf when dognapped!!! http://www.crosspointeanimalhospital.com/Basie-s-Story.html
Sue November 25, 2011 at 06:35 AM
Owner neglect? Are you kidding me? Anyone who lovingly takes care of their dog and she is 17 YEARS OLD is hardly neglectful. The vet was irresponsible in not allowing ample time for someone to find her. Vets are not shelters. This dog should have gone to a shelter so the owner could find him. If they didn't have the decency to do that, they should have tried a little harder to find the owners and kept the dog there. I am sure they had an empty cage or two most likely. You don't euthanize a lost dog like that unless it is in horrible pain from being hit by a car or something and cannot be treated. This dog was not in pain. What a quack vet. He is 100% to blame for such a low level standard of care of the very basic of trying to locate a dog's owner. Pitiful.
Susan Deming November 25, 2011 at 01:57 PM
I agree with most of you about the owner being responsible...BUT QUIT PICKING UP DOGS YOU "THINK" ARE STRAYS!!! Our Siberian Husky got out and was stolen when she was ten feet from my front yard and was attempting to COME HOME! She was stolen by an off duty worker for a rescue/shelter. We never found her....BUT when we confronted a group that said they were a "no-kill shelter" we discovered they had not only HAD her but HAD NOT attempted to locate her owner (me) and had already adopted her out AND REFUSED TO RETURN HER AFTER THEY HAD STOLEN HER IN THE FIRST PLACE...to top it all off SHE HAD A COLLAR AND TAGS ON WHEN THEY TOOK HER!
Susan McCauley November 25, 2011 at 11:48 PM
Lots of commenters seem to enjoy making righteous condemnation of the family/owners/guardians of a beloved 17 year dog! That's neither respectable nor intelligent nor compassionate.
Susan McCauley November 25, 2011 at 11:51 PM
Agreed.
Clinton O'Brien November 28, 2011 at 01:45 PM
FYI, the Care2 petition that is fueling public outcry about this sad event is now up to more than 46,000 signers: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/435/justice-for-basie-stop-euthanizing-animals-in-fairfax-county/

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