OCCOQUAN, Va. (WUSA) - The last time Allen Holmes saw his beloved 17-year-old dog Basie, was when he snapped a photo of her in their yard. He had taken her collar off because it bothered her.
Allen says he was checking on her every 10 minutes or so. The picture was taken at 12:06 p.m. on November 1st. Fifteen minutes later, Basie was gone. He and his wife searched everywhere, plastering their Occoquan neighborhood with flyers.
"We both thought she could not have left the yard on her own. She was 17 and moved very slowly," said Allen's wife Alison.
The next day, they found her cremated remains at the Fairfax County. Basie had been euthanized at The Crosspoint Animal Hospital in Fairfax Station just a few hours after she went missing.
They learned a client of Crosspoint said she found the dog wandering in the woods, thought she was a stray, and brought her in.
"To give us no opportunity to be there is horrifyingly wrong. I'm devastated. We both are," said Alison. She doubts any vet could think Basie was a stray since her nails had been clipped and she was very clean. She even had had a tooth extracted recently, Alison said.
A staff person at Crosspoint Animal Hospital told 9News Now that they were acting on instructions from the Fairfax County Animal Shelter when they euthanized the dog. But the Fairfax County Police Department, which oversees Animal Control, says the shelter would never give that advice. Officer Shelly Broderick says the decision to euthanize, was the veterinarian's alone.
Crosspoint's examination report of Basie found several health problems, including respiratory disease and neurologic abnormalities. But it also says she was "alert" and "responsive."
Basie's owners acknowledge she had a number of health issues that they were monitoring, but they do not believe she was ready to go.
Alison said, "Basie died alone with strangers, which is the real tragedy. She was a baby, just a helpless little dog, you know?"
Allen and Alison had called Prince William County Police who sent an officer to investigate. Sgt. Kim Chinn said they found no evidence of a crime and that both the woman who picked up the dog and the vet appeared to be doing what they thought was right.
To that statement, Allen Holmes noted that even shelters have policies that prohibit euthanizing strays to give owners time to find their pets.
Written by Peggy Fox