Weatherford Democrat

April 30, 2014

Vet arrested on animal cruelty charges

Aledo couple believes dog held as blood donor


Weatherford Democrat

By JUDY SHERIDAN

Fort Worth veterinarian Dr. Millard Lucien “Lou” Tierce III, of Camp Bowie Animal Clinic, turned himself in to authorities late Wednesday after Fort Worth police obtained a warrant for his arrest on an animal cruelty charge, according to an attorney representing an Aledo family. 

The attorney, a partner with Weatherford firm Eggleston Flowers & King LLP, also said the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners had suspended Tierce’s license, citing a conversation with the board’s lead investigator, Dennis Barker.

Jamie and Marian Harris, of Aledo, said they discovered last week that their dog, which they thought had been euthanized by Tierce in October, was alive and being used as a source for blood transfusions by Tierce.

A complaint was filed with the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners April 22 by Eggleston Flowers & King LLP, who represent the Harrises.

The complaint states that the Harrises were told by Tierce in October that their dog, a 170-pound Leonberger named Sid, had an irreparable and degenerative condition with no chance of recovery. They said they agreed to have the dog euthanized and buried by Tierce.

Last week, however, the couple discovered through a phone call from a former clinic employee that Sid was, in fact, alive and being used to produce blood and plasma — along with other dogs whose owners also believed they had been put down, according to the complaint.

The former employee, identified as Mary Brewer, said Sid had been locked in his cage more than 23 hours per day in his own feces and urine and was rarely bathed or walked, the complaint states.

   It further states the couple felt they had no choice but to force their way into the clinic to get their dog out and did so while refusing to speak with Dr. Tierce, who tried to explain his actions.

The complaint states that other veterinarians have confirmed Sid’s status as a blood donor, as well as the filth and “hoarding” nature of the clinic. 

A spokesman for Eggleston, Flowers & King LLP said the firm is also representing Brewer and former clinic employee Karen Covington as whistle blowers. The Harrises are expected to file a civil lawsuit against the clinic. 

The law firm is still gathering information, he said.

“We are fielding calls from former employees of the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic and other pet owners with similar encounters with Dr. Lou Tierce and the clinic,” he said. “The number of potential plaintiffs grows as the day progresses.

“There are multiple witnesses of other encounters, as well as horrific other stories,” he added. “It is approaching a dozen employees and clients of the clinic with stories dating back to 1997.”

The spokesman said the firm has learned that three other complaints have since been filed with the state board.

Tierce could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening but told other media organizations that the allegations are false and Brewer is a disgruntled employee.

Jamie Harris has mixed emotions about the incident.

“We have our dog back, and we’re happy,” he said, “but when we found out what was going on, it was hard. This is about making sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”