May 8, 2014

Family sues Fort Worth veterinarian over dog’s treatment

The Harris family said their dog, Sid, was injured when an employee “flipped” the dog into a bathtub.

The family who filed a complaint with the state accusing veterinarian Lou Tierce of keeping their dog alive after they thought it was euthanized is suing him for more than $1 million.

The suit, filed Thursday in Tarrant County civil court, alleges that Tierce deceived Jamie and Marian Harris by recommending that their 4-year-old Leonberger, Sid, be euthanized after he could no longer walk because he was suffering from a congenital spinal defect.

Several months later, the Harrises discovered that Sid was still alive and was apparently being used for “blood extractions” when a former employee, Mary Brewer, contacted them.

Tierce faces a hearing before the Texas State Veterinary Board of Medical Examiners today and his license could be revoked.

Last week, that license was temporarily suspended after investigators found animals living in deplorable and unsanitary conditions throughout the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic.

Tierce could not be reached Thursday to comment on the Harrises’ allegations.

In their lawsuit, the Harris’ alleged that Tierce initially told them that Sid needed minor anal gland treatment in May of 2013. They often visited Sid and were told he was getting better.

But in September, Jamie Harris went to see his dog and discovered Sid could not lift his hind quarters.

In October, the family was told that Sid had the degenerative spinal defect and the Harris’ reluctantly decided to have him euthanized. They even discussed burial at Tierce’s farm.

But they later learned that Sid allegedly was injured when an employee “flipped” the dog into a bathtub, and the dog landed on his back in an unnatural position, the lawsuit said.

When the Harrises learned that Sid was still alive, they immediately rescued him from the clinic.

Subsequent visits to veterinarians showed that Sid had significant atrophy to his muscles, was subjected to abusive kenneling, and had stress induced mange, the lawsuit states.

Sid also has bulging discs in his back which need to be surgically repaired, according to the suit, and he has some paralysis.

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