Sturgis dog dies during ear-cleaning procedure

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STURGIS, Mich. (WNDU) - Rocky, a 2-year-old German shepherd, needed to get his ears cleaned over at Fawn River Animal Clinic. But at some point during the procedure, Rocky died.

"It was very shocking to us," said Rocky's owner, Ashton Sutton. "We had no clue that there was even a possibility of death. They never explained anything to us. The call, it dropped my heart, you know? My heart sank."

This was absolutely devastating news to hear, especially for Sutton and his fiancee.

"It's very hard, as me and my fiancee can't have children," Sutton said. "So, that was our baby that had passed away on the table."

Fawn River says during the procedure, the dog wouldn't calm down, so they had to use an anesthetic. They say they gave eight-tenths of a cubic centimeter of Xylazine, which they say isn't enough to kill a dog Rocky's size, but then he started having issues breathing, so they gave him 2 cc of Xylazine, and when it wasn't helping, they used 2 cc of Dopram to help him breathe and then a Tolazine to reverse the effects of the other drugs.

"None of these things would have been even close to overdosing?" I asked.

"I didn't give him anything that should have been close to an overdose ... for his size," Fawn River Animal Clinic owner John Lindamood said.

While Rocky's autopsy is still in progress, Lindamood says Rocky most likely reacted badly to the anesthesia.

"Could have been allergies, could have just been the anesthetic results too," Lindamood said. "Got a lot of them and sometimes anesthetics just ... you just can't predict the darn stuff."

Before the procedure there was one thing missing from all of this: a waiver, causing a whole legal mess.

"People come in and we tell them what we're going to do and what the risk is and everything else," Lindamood said. "But the woman that made it out didn't have anybody sign it, so I don't know. So, she's not working here anymore."

This has Sutton and his fiancee pretty upset, as you can hear in a recording they took talking to Lindamood.

"I would have rather had his ear not being cleaned than my dog dying on the table!" Sutton's fiancee said. "That dog was one of my children!"

"So we're looking to get him shut down and just justice for Rocky," Sutton said.

While Lindamood is sorry -- "Tell him I'm sorry," Lindamood said. "It's killing me about as much as it's killing him" -- sorry isn't going to bring a life back.

Sutton says he is looking into legal action against Lindamood and the clinic.