Animal control officials in Genesee County, Michigan, apologized for mistakenly euthanizing a family's pet.

The nearly 2-year-old black lab, named Junior, had been quarantined at the county's animal shelter to observe for signs of rabies after escaping from home and biting a woman.

Officials said the dog's death was caused when a worker misread a card on Junior's cage and took the wrong animal for the lethal injection.

The dog's owner, Anette Hetzer, said Junior was "the sweetest dog" and said the hardest part is explaining the loss to her 2-year-old son, whom she describes as "heartbroken."