Fort Worth, Texas, veterinarian Dr. Millard “Lou” Tierce was arrested Wednesday evening after a family accused him of lying about euthanizing their dog and keeping the animal alive for blood transfusions.
Tierce, who worked at Camp Bowie Animal Clinic, turned himself in to the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office and was released on a $10,000 bond after being booked. Loris Jones, spokeswoman and HR director with the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, told HLN that Tierce’s license has been temporarily suspended (see the full report below).
The suspension reports that the owners of the dog, Jamie and Marian Harris, brought Sid to the clinic in May of 2013 for what they believed was a minor anal gland issue. The 170-pound Leonberger was kept at the clinic at that point so Tierce could perform cold laser therapy on the glands. The dog stayed at the clinic for four months, and the Harris family was advised it would take “more time for him to heal” when they inquired about Sid coming home.
The suspension order says that in October of 2013, while Sid was still staying at the clinic, Tierce informed the family that he had found a congenital birth defect in the dog’s spine, and that nothing could be done. He recommended that the dog be put down. Shocked, they agreed to have Sid put down and left the dog in the clinic’s hands and went home to mourn the loss of their family friend.
It came as a complete surprise when they received a call from a former employee at the clinic seven months later to say that Sid was still alive.
The employee, Mary Brewer, allegedly told the family that Sid was being used for blood transfusions and other medical procedures. The Harris family filed a complaint with the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners on April 22, and board investigators inspected the clinic on April 29. The board’s report describes animal organs kept in jars throughout the clinic, bugs visible in exam rooms, and open and unsecured medications left out, according to the suspension order.
The order also says that Tierce presented the board with a written statement saying that he had accepted five animals at the clinic for euthanasia without performing the procedure. The animals were recovered, but three had to be put down (including a dog Tierce claimed was his own) due to the condition they were in.
HLN made several calls to the Harris family for comment, but they were not returned.
“The betrayal is so incredibly intense that nothing you have prepares you for the emotions,” owner Marian Harris told KTVT. “There’s anger. There’s joy that you have your dog back. There’s betrayal of this intense trust.”
Tierce, 71, has been a practicing veterinarian since 1966. Board spokeswoman Jones told HLN that this is the only disciplinary action that has ever been taken against the doctor.