Woman speaks out after death of family pet

MIDLAND -- One Midland family lost a beloved pet, after they were turned away at a local animal hospital.

Kerri Rice woke up Tuesday morning to find her Boxer, Braylee, struggling to breathe.

“Her tongue was almost starting to swell. And it just seemed like she wasn’t getting enough oxygen,” Rice said.

Rice called a veterinarian’s office just after 7 a.m. It wasn’t open, so her call was transferred to Animal Emergency Hospital of Permian Basin in Odessa.

“I was actually in tears at this point. Because I could just tell that she was struggling. And so she told me that they were going to be closing soon. And that our best bet would be going to our family vet that opens at 8 a.m.,” Rice said.

Rice called another veterinarian, and was transferred to the clinic again.

“I specifically said this time in the second call. I don’t think she’s going to make it until 8 o’clock. And you know, she was just unapologetically, like, I’m so sorry, I don’t really know what to tell you,” Rice said.

Rice dropped her 2-year-old son off at daycare, and got to A to Z Veterinary Medicine at 7:40.

When it opened at 8 a.m., they found Braylee had a blockage in a lung. The veterinarian said she had to stabilize before they could fix it.

Kerri Rice's husband arrived at the clinic and knelt down to comfort the dog he's owned for nine years.

“She was in the kennel, and she didn’t seem like she was stable. He just leaned down to her and told her everything was going to be okay and we were going to take care of her,” Rice said.

But Kerri Rice's husband couldn’t keep his promise. Several minutes later, Braylee died. Rice spoke to the veterinarian.

“She said, ‘that one hour could have been a matter of her living, and her dying.’ And that if they had just tried, that maybe she could still be here today,” Rice said.

Rice’s husband spoke to the director of the Animal Emergency Hospital of Permian Basin who said it’s not in their policy to turn pets away during business hours, and they will review the phone calls.

"I’m not blaming them for her death. But just to turn somebody away in need , like, when you’re supposed to be there for that reason, like, you’re an emergency clinic. So if your hours say until 8 a.m., you should take a dog up until 8 a.m.,” Rice said.

CBS7 reached out to the animal hospital for comment multiple times, but have yet to hear back about the incident.