On Wednesday we told you about the shocking case of Lou Tierce, a popular vet at Camp Bowie Animal Clinic in Fort Worth, Texas, who was accused of stealing a dog turned over to him for euthanasia, keeping the dog, Sid, alive and caged in inhumane conditions at the clinic for six months and bleeding him for plasma and “experimental treatments.”
Thanks to a former employee, Sid’s family found out he was still alive at the clinic, and they dramatically rescued the dog themselves. They called the police, but when we wrote our story, authorities were still investigating and no charges had been brought.
Now, that’s changed. Dr. Millard Lou Tierce was arrested this week for animal cruelty, and he had his license temporarily suspended Wednesday by the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. Currently, he is out on $10,000 bond, according to NBCDFW.com.
It turns out that the vet not only stole Sid, he also imprisoned five other pets who had been brought in for euthanasia. One of the dogs had been kept in a cage for as long as three years; three were in such bad shape that they needed to be euthanized.
It gets worse: During the raid, Fort Worth police and animal control officers said it was Tierce’s own dog, a Border Collie, who was in the worst condition of all. They found the dog lying in a box in the exam room, twitching in pain. One leg was missing, one was dislocated, and two shoulders were dislocated.
A vet tech, Cynthia Welch, said the dog had been in that condition, and in the same location, since she started working there on June 2, 2013. Tierce told animal control officers that he had provided no medical care for the dog, just food and water.
Dr. Michael Morris of the Fort Worth Animal Clinic later determined that the Tierce’s dog “was emaciated and non-ambulatory, and that it was missing the bottom of a foot and had severe mouth disease, cataracts, a degenerative and untreatable neurological disease and abnormal overall health,” according to NBCDFW.com.
The dog should have been euthanized, he concluded. Tierce admitted to officers that he should have euthanized the dog as well.
During the raid, animal control officers also found that the clinic was filthy, with “unsecured drugs” strewn about.
According to the state board’s temporary license suspension order, “Animal organs were kept in jars throughout the clinic. Bugs were visible in exam rooms. Stacks of drugs, trash, laundry, paperwork and other miscellaneous items were strewn about the examinations rooms, hallways, stairwells, operating room, laboratories and offices of the clinic.”
Many of Tierce’s clients, however, do not believe the allegations. Camp Bowie has been a fixture in the community for decades, and Tierce is something of a beloved figure. People have been showing up at the clinic to offer their support.
“He wouldn’t do anything to harm an animal,” one supporter, Robert Heineman, told NBCDFW.com. “We don’t believe for one second that he’s done anything unethical.”
“I’m kind of heartbroken. Whoever is in charge needs to figure this out real quickly,” said another supporter, Ben Abramowitz. “We need to have him here practicing medicine and not dealing with this kind of harassment.”
Another longtime client, Sandy Kurtzman, said people need to look past the details on the arrest warrant. “If that’s all you’re gonna see, you’re gonna see that he’s a quack and a freak and an evil person and a vampire,” she said. “You’re not gonna get the whole story about who Dr. Lou Tierce is. There’s a reason why I call him ‘Saint Lou.'”
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of animal suffering on that arrest warrant, and we can see no reason to look past it.
Read more about the bond between humans and dogs on Dogster: