Local News

Family says Dunn vet lost their dog

Posted July 25, 2012 5:39 p.m. EDT
Updated August 4, 2012 3:07 p.m. EDT

— A Smithfield woman says a Dunn veterinary clinic lost her family's 7-year-old Labrador-German shepherd mix while the family was out of town.

Kim Croonquist says she boarded Ewok at Vets for Pets on July 4, but when she went to pick him up last Tuesday, she found out he was missing.

"I don't understand how this could happen," she said Wednesday. "Our son cries himself to sleep every night."

Croonquist says she checked in with the vet often and received good reports about Ewok. She says she has been left without an explanation that makes sense to her.

"It's one thing, if somebody took him out to walk him and he got loose, but we're getting no answers, no closure, no cooperation from them on getting answers as to what happened to them," she said.

Croonquist says the vet held an adoption clinic while Ewok was staying there, and she fears he might have been adopted.

"We're very upset, also," Dr. Guy Beretich, who runs Vets for Pets, said Wednesday.

He says Ewok fought to escape from his kennel the night before he was to be picked up.

"Either he manipulated the door, or the door wasn't shut correctly," he said. "Every dog put in any boarding facility wants to get out, and he was more determined than most."

He says he has no explanation for what happened.

"It happened on my watch, and it's my responsibility, but I know of nothing that I or any of my collaborators did wrong or didn't do right," he said. "But obviously, something happened."

Croonquist says she believes it's negligence.

"I'm completely furious with these people," she said.

This isn't the first issue with Beretich, who was the subject of three complaints in 2009.

In 2010, the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board ordered Beretich to surrender his license after investigators found what they called "evidence of incompetence."

In one case, the board found he chose an inappropriate surgery on a dog's eye and then did the procedure on the wrong eye.

In another case, he was accused of failing to properly diagnose a dog and then inadequately care for it.

Beretich chose to fight the allegations, and he's scheduled to appear at a hearing on Aug. 7.