Sid, a five-year-old Leonberger, was thought to have been euthanized last fall because of a degenerative spinal condition.
But his owners were horrified to learn that Sid was actually alive and they’re accusing their vet of using their beloved dog for plasma and other experimental treatments.
Now authorities have raided the veterinary clinic of Dr. Lou Tierce of Fort Worth and seized two dogs. Marian Harris, the owner of Sid, said her dog was being “bled”
The biggest hurt in all of this is the deception and what it means with something that means so much to you…Our pets are family members.”
The family filed a complaint with the state last week.
It was like getting punched in the stomach and then some. This has rocked our world. My kids are like, ‘How does somebody do this?’ How does this happen? He was able to walk and jump in the back of my minivan so it was an excitement to be reunited. The betrayal is so incredibly intense that nothing you have prepares you for the emotions. There’s anger, there’s joy that you have your dog back, there’s betrayal of this intense trust.
Their attorney said there are allegations that other dogs and cats were kept alive for blood transfusions and other experimental treatments after their owners thought they were being put down because of sickness.
Other customers of the vet were surprised when they stopped by the clinic and found authorities and reporters there.
Starry Bourgea, 49,went to check on the costs of shots for her Jack Russell terrier/Yorkie mix, Sally Mae, and said she found the presence of investigators unsettling.
“Did they hurt an animal?…We’re not supposed to hurt animals. They’re like babies. We’re supposed to care for them. Make sure they’re safe and feed them and give them treats. My Sally Mae is so spoiled, I don’t want to bring her here anymore if this is all going on.”
Bruce Barker of Fort Worth stopped by to ask questions about his chocolate lab’s upcoming biopsy and said he was “shocked” to find police and reporters milling about outside.
Barker, who had his soft-coated Wheaton Terrier put down at the clinic in December, said he’s used the vet for about a decade. He said he intends to seek proof before making any judgments.
They’re innocent as far as I’m concerned until there’s proof … He’s absolutely the best vet I’ve ever seen. I’d let him operate on me.”
Symantha Spence rushed to the clinic in near tears after her husband called her and told her that he’d read about the investigation and raid on Facebook.
Spence said the family’s golden retriever, Shiner Bock, had died at the vet clinic in March and now she wants to be sure that she was told the truth.
We brought him in on a Sunday night and he was very ill. Monday morning, we got the phone call that he had passed away…We never saw him again so I just wanted to make sure that he did pass away, for sure. We love this vet. They’re been nothing but good for us but we just want to make sure after hearing what we heard today.”
Allegations detailed in complaint filed by the Harris were that they brought Sid to the clinic in May 2013 because of a problem with the dog’s anal glands.
Tierce told the Harrises that he wanted to use a new “cold laser” procedure and that it might take longer for the dog to recover, according to the complaint filed April 22 with the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.
Over time, Sid did not appear to be getting better, according to the complaint.
In September, Jamie Harris went to Tierce’s clinic to see Sid, and was shocked when the dog dragged himself into the lobby because he could not lift his hind quarters. According to the complaint, Jamie Harris was told that Sid was suffering from a reaction to a medication cocktail.
The Harrises were also told that Sid had a congenital spinal defect and needed to be put down. The family said their goodbyes to Sid and agreed to let the clinic take care of the burial.
Six months later, on April 21, Harris said she was “shocked” when she got a call from a former veterinary technician at the clinic, telling her that Sid was still alive. The employee told Harris that she quit that day because she could no longer work in a clinic where the animals were mistreated.
The employee told Harris that Sid spent almost 24 hours a day in a cage, littered with his own feces and urine, and that he had been injured by another employee.
Jamie and Marian Harris described how they drove to the clinic and while two friends guarded the front and back doors as her husband distracted the receptionist, Harris went to the back, found Sid in a cage and rescued him.
Tierce came outside, according to the complaint, and explained that he had not euthanized Sid because some of his employees had threatened to quit if he did.
The Harrises left with Sid and took him to another veterinarian, who told them that it appeared Sid had been tapped for blood transfusions.
Sid is now back home in Aledo with the Harris family.