A family has filed a $1 million lawsuit against a Fort Worth veterinarian whom they say tricked them into believing their dog had been euthanized, but was secretly kept alive by the veterinarian.
The lawsuit was filed against Millard Lucien “Lou” Tierce, III on Thursday afternoon by Jamie and Marian Harris, according to court documents. It asks for the money for the family dog's care and the family's pain and suffering.
Tierce’s animal clinic was raided by police and medical board investigators at the end of April following a complaint filed by Marian Harris against Dr. Tierce.
As a result, Tierce was charged with cruelty to animals, non-livestock, and released on a $10,000 bond. The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners also notified Tierce that his license was suspended.
According to the suspension order, the investigators noted 'unsanitary conditions, animal organs kept in jars, bugs in exam rooms, open and unsecured medications.' They also found five animals Dr. Tierce had accepted for euthanasia that were still alive. One had been kept for two to three years in a cage.
In the lawsuit, the Harrises say they took their 170-pound dog, a Leonberger named Sid, to Dr. Tierce in May of last year. In October, the family was told Sid had a congenital birth defect in his spine.
According to the lawsuit, "Dr. Tierce told the Harrises that the spinal defect was degenerative and incurable and that nothing could be done for Sid’s condition," and Sid would have to be put down.
While Marian’s husband was out of town, she and her son went to the clinic to say goodbye to Sid. Dr. Tierce’s wife, who managed the clinic, reportedly told the Harrises that “Sid would be buried at the Tierces’ family farm.”
In April 2014, a former clinic employee contacted the Harrises and told them that Sid was still alive and was being used for blood extraction.
The Harrises went to the clinic and got Sid back, and say that while doing so, Dr. Tierce tried to justify why he’d kept Sid alive.
Sid was subsequently taken to a new veterinarian to be examined, where it was determined that he “had been abusively kenneled,” “had stressed-induced mange,” “had significant atrophy in his leg muscles due to gross inactivity and the abusive kenneling,” “had veins consistent with him having been used as a regular blood donor,” and “definitively had no congenital spine defect.”
Additionally, the new vet said that Sid has “bulging or herniated discs in his back” that will need to be repaired through surgery, which he will soon undergo.
The Harrises say Tierce had been their veterinarian for more than 25 years.
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