When the Star-Telegram finally pried a comment from Fort Worth veterinarian Millard "Lou" Tierce on Wednesday, he dismissed allegations that he'd mistreated animals -- specifically keeping a family's supposedly euthanized dog alive for six months as a source for blood transfusions -- as "all a bunch of hooey."
The state and local officials who raided his office on Tuesday disagree. On Wednesday evening, Tierce was arrested on an animal cruelty charge after turning himself in shortly after 7. He was released not long after, posting a $10,000 bond.[jump]
Police haven't said whether the charge stems from the initial blood-transfusion complaint or something else investigators found during their hours-long examination of Tierce's Camp Bowie Animal Clinic.
News of the investigation prompted a flurry of calls to the clinic, which opened for business as usual on Wednesday. Lots of them were from customers like Keri Eagle, who questioned if her miniature pinscher had in fact been euthanized like Tierce said.
"I cried, because I wish I hadn't done this. Maybe this wasn't the best choice for her," Eagle told NBC 5. "I just question myself for making a wrong decision by bringing my dog here."
And Fox 4 reports that another woman, Rebecca Pearce, filed a complaint with the state on Wednesday because she's no longer sure the can of ashes Tierce gave her actually contain the remains of her beloved Maxina since she never received a bill. Same with Christian Flores, who spoke with the Star-Telegram.
Update at 2:03 p.m.: The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has suspended Tierce.
According to the order of suspension, Tierce failed to euthanize five dogs, telling investigators that he believed "that it was his decision, and not the decision of the animal owner, whether or not an animal should be euthanized."
Also, the place was filthy:
Animal organs were kept in jars throughout the clinic. Bugs were visible in exam rooms. Stacks of drugs, trash, laundry, paperwork, and other miscellaneous material were strewn about the examination rooms, hallway, stairwells, operating room, laboratories, and offices of the Clinic.Open and unsecured medications, including some controlled substances, were also strewn about the clinic and in such a fashion that controlled substances could easily be stolen and abused by employees, clients, or visitors of the clinic.
Three dogs found in the clinic on Tuesday, one of which Tierce claimed as his own, were "in such decrepit shape that the had to be euthanized." His failure to do so is the source of the animal cruelty charge.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.