Dogs & Laws

Veterinarian Charged With Animal Cruelty After Shocking Allegations

For the Harris family of Fort Worth, Texas, Tuesday was both the happiest day of their lives and the most infuriating.

SidOn the one hand, their beloved Leonberger, Sid, is alive and back at home with his family, despite having been scheduled for euthanasia 6 months ago, on the recommendation of their veterinarian, Dr. Millard (Lou) Tierce, after being diagnosed with a congenital spine condition. On the other hand, Dr. Tierce had been keeping Sid alive, using him as an in-office blood donor for half of a year, without their knowledge or consent.

What’s more, after examination by another veterinarian it was determined that Sid should never have been recommended for euthanasia in the first place. Aside from health issues related to spending 6 months living in a cage, he appears well.

On Tuesday, Jamie and Marian Harris received a phone call from a former veterinary technician at Dr. Tierce’s practice, the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic – a well-respected practice that’s been treating Fort Worth area pet’s for over 40 years. The vet tech told the Harris’ that their dog, 4-year old Sid, who they thought had been laid to rest, was actually living in a cage at the veterinary clinic, being kept alive and used for blood donations.

After receiving the disturbing call, the Harris’ went to the clinic in search of their dog. One family member distracted the receptionist while another snuck into the back and found Sid. After making sure their dog was safely out of the clinic, they called police.

NBC in Dallas/Fort Worth reported,

Sid is now home with the Harris family and being treated by other veterinarians. According to the Harris family’s lawyer, James Eggelston, doctors have determined the dog has mange, shows definite signs of being used for blood transfusions and shows evidence of being “abusively kenneled.”

On Wednesday, a day after the Harris family contacted police, Dr. Tierce was arrested and charged with animal cruelty. He was later released after posting a $10,000 bond.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tierce, who has been practicing veterinary medicine since becoming licensed in 1966, has had his license suspended while the investigation continues.

Since the story broke, several of Dr. Tierce’s former clients have come forth, concerned about the well-being of their own pets.

According to The Star Telegram,

One woman wants confirmation that the dog she took to the clinic in October 2012 was euthanized. The woman said that she called the clinic Tuesday and was told that the information was not available. Workers confirmed that she was never billed for the procedure.

Christian Flores of Crowley said his family had a pit bull, Tyson, who was diagnosed with parvovirus. In November, the owners took the dog to the clinic and were told days later that Tyson had died. Flores said they never received a burial bill.

When police raided Camp Bowie Animal Clinic, they seized two dogs as part of their investigation. The Fort Worth Police Department will not provide additional details, only saying that the investigation continues. The state’s Board of Veterinarian Medical Examiners said it cannot comment on open investigations.

 

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38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Denise

    May 2, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    I wondered the same thing…why didn’t they stay with Sid and leave him to die alone. I’ve always been with my babies, it’s difficult as we all know but for them, you just have to be. But…think about it. What if she would have insisted on being with Sid? Would the doctor have euthanised him because he was then backed into a corner? Because they didn’t stay, they have Sid alive and going to be well for hopefully a long time. I’m sorry that it happened at all, the whole situation, it’s just terrible.

    • Cameron G Scott

      May 2, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Where I work, sometimes people just aren’t able to stay and watch their pet go bye bye due to the emotional stress. That’s about the only thing I can think of, but thatost definitely does not justify the alleged actions of that doctor. In my opinion, the technicians and everyone who knew about this should be charged. It would be the same as conspiring it facilitating an offense. The whole think, I think, was just wrong. I believe that at some point, SOMEBODY in their own mind, questioned whether it was ethical or not.

    • Ruth

      May 2, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      We all have to empathize for others. Everyone deals with grief in their own way. I work with all different sorts of clients, in all sorts of situations and from all different upbringings. There IS NO wrong way to make this kind of decision. Especially when you TRUST the people who have been treating your pet ! No one should be berating these people for their decision, but sympathizing with them for how their trusted animal caretakers treated their pet!!

  2. Julie

    May 2, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I would NEVER leave any of my fur babies alone in their last moments of life. KARMA will get this person.

    • Sam

      May 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Karma already did. Can you imagine living with the guilt of knowing you abandoned your animal to that sort of abuse? Too many people pride themselves on their kindness to animals, while forgetting to be kind to humans. Everyone makes mistakes.

      • Bridgett

        May 2, 2014 at 6:18 pm

        Let’s not blame the dog owner. This is the veterinarian’s fault. Some people believe (and rightfully so) that their vet is a good and decent person. We all grieve differently. Take notice the family did go and rescue their pet. Let’s not make this error any harder than it is already for them.

  3. Leslie wine

    May 2, 2014 at 2:01 am

    omg that is so wrong makes u afraid to take your fur Babies to vet Hope that vet gets a stiff Penalty..

  4. junewardlaw

    May 2, 2014 at 1:31 am

    For this one lets do unto others as they did to you.Put the vet in a cage for at least 6 months and mandatory blood donations for life. Also no more practice.License revoked.In plain words your terminated doc!!!

  5. Sandra

    May 2, 2014 at 12:24 am

    I’ve had to have a couple of dogs put down over the years. I’ve always stayed with them, and took their body home to bury on our property wrapped in their very own blankies.

    • stacey

      May 2, 2014 at 6:55 am

      Sandra,,, while in theory your thoughts are wonderful, not everyone can do that, a few months ago I had to have my chow chow euthanized, he was old and in to much pain to keep here, but I live in a mobile home park, we cant bury our animals here plus its not a permenant place to me.. and there was no way I could stay in the room. blessidly I have a wonderful friend that stayed with him, and her and my husband were able to bury him at her parents home.. out by her dogs plots… but again not everyone has that option…

  6. debbie

    May 2, 2014 at 12:14 am

    always stay with your dog when they have to go for such a (any)procedure, you owe them that for their love and devotion

  7. Faye Paolino

    May 1, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Now I am worried altho it’s been many years ago I left a darling dog at the Vets office in Alaska whether he was put to sleep or not. This concerns me after all those years.
    My other concern is now I have my animals put to sleep I get them cremated and returned to me. My one 17 year old who I still miss so much after 6 years was cremated. They come back to the vet in a box sealed. I checked and all there was four or 5 white bones. She was small, a pom but I still worry. In Feb our larger dog died beside my bed and I took her to another vet, She has 2 large bags of something. She was large but not that large. How could i ever find out about this. I worry about both of these issues.

  8. Mary

    May 1, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I just had to put my best furbuddy, Lucky, to sleep today. I always stay with them to the
    end. I know it comforts them to know I’m there.

    • Louise

      May 1, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      My beloved “Bootzie” was 18 years old when we had to finally put her to sleep and out of her misery. The last 6 months of her life we hard one day we came home to find her spread out on the floor and could no longer get up. We finally took her to the hospital where she was gently put to sleep and left our world to go to a better one while she laid in my arms. Two years later I have a new rescue whom I truly love and adore but I seem to miss our dear sweet dog more now than ever.

      • Skeeat

        May 2, 2014 at 10:00 am

        If your dog was in pain for 6mo shame on you for being so selfish! I know someone who had acupuncture on her dog for way too long. The poor dog was suffering because SHE wanted to keep him around for HER. The dog was miserable.
        If your dog -or cat- is obviously hurting, do the right thing & let him go to the Rainbow Bridge. To do otherwise is inhumane!

  9. Michelle Betz

    May 1, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    As far as being with the animal when it is euthanized, many clinics do not allow it. And if it too upsetting, many clinics “dispose” of the animal after it is dead. So that is a non-point as an argument as far as I am concerned. It makes you not trust vets. I have had several pets put down (with problems associated with old age (extreme according to my vets). I have been there. If the vet had been responsible, he would have contacted the owner when he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) put the animal down. It’s a trust issue. And then the owner finds out that what that vet said was so serious that the animal had to be put down? I would never trust that man again (I don’t see how any owner could trust him) with an insect, let alone a family member. I stand behind the owners.

    • Bobbie

      May 2, 2014 at 9:17 am

      I worked for a vet for 7 years and I would NOT trust any vet anymore! Plus, if a vet says he doesn’t allow you to be with your baby while they put it down, go somewhere else! Something is definitely wrong there!!!!!

  10. Sue

    May 1, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Apparently this goes on quite often, the lady who I adopted my rescue from had mention a residential
    vet who takes in unadopted shelter animals and uses them for lab testing product for well know pet cAre products. They are kept in a unmarked warhouse where they are poisoned with the products and then they proform autopsies, all this is legal. Very tormenting to know this goes on!

  11. M Wagner

    May 1, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Why isn’t anyone questioning this former vet tech why she didn’t speak up sooner, did she wait until she quit or was let go to call the family, really, 6 months later?? How can she sleep at night?? How can any of those employees knowing what was going on there?? These people are supposed to protect our pets & take care of their medical needs. You can’t trust ANYBODY today. He may be a good vet, but what kind of a person does this?? He better lose his license & go to jail. What is wrong with people today??

    • Jean

      May 1, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      The staff that chose not to report this abuse are guilty and should be held as responsible as the doctor.

  12. Kelli N

    May 1, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    So, what I am wondering is who would let their animal be euthanized and NOT want the body back for their own burial?! Seriously, if I am putting my pet to sleep, I want something to bury and say goodbye to. Blows my mind that this has gone on for so long and nobody questioned why they didn’t get their pet back….

    • Kelli N

      May 1, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      But yes, sick sick %$^#!

    • jen

      May 1, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      I didn’t want my 120lb dog’s body back for burial. I did however lay with him as they administered the drugs and comforted him until his last breath.

    • Gregg

      May 1, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      I have had many dogs put to rest and didn’t want, nor did it ever occur to me, to get the bodies back. They are dead and my peace was made prior to the decision to take them in.

    • Beverly Miller

      May 1, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      I wonder why the owner did not insist upon being with her pet during the procedure in order to provide the poor dog with comfort at the end. I think the evil vet counted on the wimp owner to stay away. If the owner is thinking about a lawsuit, I want to serve on the jury. I believe there is more to this story.

      • Bobbie

        May 2, 2014 at 10:01 pm

        Ok, I worked in a vets office for 7 years, in the same area this vet is in. I never met him but I know of him. There are some people that have said their farewells to the animal and just have such a hard time watching a euthanasia. We always gave them a strong sedative before the euth. meds so people who were not comfortable staying could be with them till they went to sleep. After that we assured them that the pet knew nothing and felt nothing at this stage. I also always reassured them that I would be with their pet till the very end and that seemed to comfort most people. So please don’t judge people till you have walked in their shoes!!! And believe me, 99 9/10% of the vets DO NOT DO WHAT THIS GUY SEEMS TO HAVE DONE!!! There is always at least one bad apple that spoils the whole bunch. Again don’t judge all by one!!!!!

  13. tracy lewis

    May 1, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    I cant believe that a dr wud do this. Why are people doing such awful stuff to animals.

  14. Darlene Ragsdale

    May 1, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    My vet retired last year and I am still getting used to my new vet. He has always been very good with my dog. One thing I am ADAMANT about is that if a procedure must be done that I be allowed to watch or at least be right outside of the door. Of course this does not apply to surgery. I insist on seeing my pets and will stay in the waiting room if something has to be done. I have held the paws of several of my fur babies that had to be put down due to cancer or other severe illness then take them home with me or have them cremated. But will NEVER just leave them anywhere no matter what I am told. They have trusted me with their well being and I will be damned sure to see it through.

  15. Sandra Madigan

    May 1, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    This doctor should NEVER be allowed to practice again! He needs prison time for what he did to that poor dog and family. However my husband would not have called the police it would have been quietly taken care of….. Sick bastard and staff!

  16. Col. K.D. Frazier

    May 1, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    I would have taken care of the doctor , myself …. take it however you wish . I guarantee you that he would NEVER have practiced again … just sayin’ .

  17. deewdogs

    May 1, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    I will never trust my dogs w/a stranger, & that’s what vets are even if you have used them for years, I will always stay w/them & they will not be in an overnite situation @ the vets because I can provide them what they require while they are comfortable in their own home. Be suspicious, trust a stranger only when you have complete confirmation they can be trusted, listen to your gut!

  18. Valerie Frederick

    May 1, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Holy cow!! That incredible and unbelievable.

  19. Chris Steele

    May 1, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    As hard as it was for me I stayed with my baby Shadow while he was put to sleep I personally won’t let one of my babies die with strangers

    • Duh

      May 1, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      Yes, I do that. I stay with my dogs during the process. I want them to go as peacefully and with the knowledge that I am there with them.

    • jen

      May 1, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      Absolutely! Me too. I would never allow my fur babies die without me being there to comfort them.

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