Pet owner searching for answer after dogs escape hotel, 1 found dead

Pet owner hoping to find out how his dogs were able to escape from a Harker Heights pet hotel.

HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas (KWTX) Ernest Montoya says his family has not been the same since the loss of their dog weeks ago.

"I’ll never see our pet again. I go home and we have one, but his partner and a piece of our family is missing,” he said.

Montoya says he dropped off his two dogs – Shadow and Coco – at the Booker's Pet Hotel in Harker Heights.

The family went out of state for the Thanksgiving holiday. During their trip, they found out the dogs somehow escaped.

A good Samaritan found Shadow but Coco was still missing.

"I wouldn't wish this on anybody,” Montoya said.

Montoya claims the hotel did the "bare minimum" to find Coco. He started his own search going around the area of the pet hotel on North Ann Boulevard.

He also put up signs in hopes someone would recognize Coco.

Days into the search, a heartbreaking discovery.

Montoya says he found Coco, a mini Aussie, dead near the H-E-B in Harker Heights.

"I grabbed her and I took her in our car and took her took her to our hospital so we could have her remains and keep her with us always,” he said.

According to an agreement obtained by KWTX, the hotel is not liable.

“Booker’s Pet Hotel is to use all reasonable precautions against injury, theft, fire, death from any cause whatsoever, or any other calamity. Booker’s Pet Hotel will not be held liable or responsible in any manner whatsoever. It is thoroughly understood that the owner(s) or duly authorized agent of said owner, assumes any and all risks,” part of an agreement reads.

Montoya says he will look at other legal options.

Cassandra Gibson with The Carlson Law Firm says under Texas law, animals are only considered property.

"Unfortunately when it involves pets, typically there is not much to sue for even though there is a deep loss when it comes to our animals,” she said.

The pet hotel did cover the costs to get coco cremated, Montoya says.

"Do your best to find a place that will watch your pets and pray you will see them again,” he added.

Our multiple requests for comment from Booker's Pet Hotel were denied, saying they were waiting for a lawyer.

Off camera, a worker told KWTX they felt bad about what happened.