OFFICIALS feared a diplomatic 'meltdown' last night after a Saigon veterinarian mistakenly executed the beloved family pet of two tourists from Milton Keynes.
Susan and Joey-Jo-Jo Batenburg watched on in horror as local vet Huang Zhian Guaranga splattered the brains of their beloved labrador Charlie on to the wall at the People's Hall for Loyal Servants of the Loyal Servants of the Motherland in central Saigon.
Charlie had been taken to the animal hospital after falling into the swimming pool while chasing an errant frisbee at the couple's hotel, The People's Centre for Possible Enemies of the State.
Although the dog seemed to suffer no ill effects, hysterical mare Susan feared he may have picked up a cold and badgered her husband to rush him to hospital in a taxi. They expected the Labrador to be given a flu jab but were left in tears when vet Guaranga pulled out a revolver and condemned Charlie to the big biscuit in the sky.
Sensing their horror, Guranaga feared something had gone terribly wrong and quickly consulted his notes before doubling up in laughter.
The vet joked: "I'd simply got Charlie mixed up with another patient. An American couple had scheduled a termination for their Labrador after he was maimed by lion on the Ho Chi Min trail and someone got the papers mixed up. It's a bit embarrassing but minor social faux pas like this are part and parcel of my job."
A gunshot to the head is traditional Vietnamese practice for disposing of terminally-ill animals, despite pressure form PETA and deceased campaigner Barbara Woodhouse, who told a group of Mansfield teenagers 'end this sick practice' on a ouija board last night.
But while Guraranga was happy to laugh off the situation, officials at the British Embassy were not so amused. Ambassador Terry Nutkins said: "We demand a retaliatory strike. I want to see some deceased gook puppies quick or I'll be on the phone to George W Bush and he'll open up a can of whoopass."