A woman who thought that Hercules, her 12-year-old Chihuahua, was euthanized is suing veterinarian Lou Tierce after police told her the dog was seized from the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic during a raid in late April.
Kimberly Traye Davis of Dallas County filed suit Monday morning in a Tarrant County civil court alleging that Tierce lied to her about Hercules’ condition and kept the dog alive to perform medical experiments without her consent. Davis is seeking more than $1 million in damages, according to the lawsuit.
Randy Turner, an attorney representing Davis, said his client was devastated when she got the phone call from a police detective. “She had gone through the grieving process and accepted that her little Hercules was gone. When she received that call, the whole nightmare was resurrected,” Turner said.
Donald Ferrill, an attorney representing Tierce, could not be reached for comment.
Early last month, Jamie and Marian Harris of Aledo also sued Tierce after learning from a former clinic employee that their dog Sid, a 4-year-old Leonberger, was still alive months after the family thought he had been euthanized after Tierce diagnosed a congenital degenerative spinal condition. The Harrises allege that Sid went to Tierce’s clinic suffering from a minor anal gland problem.
The Harrises filed a complaint with the Texas State Veterinary Board of Medical Examiners, which led to the April 29 raid on Tierce’s Camp Bowie Animal Clinic. He was arrested a day later on suspicion of animal cruelty, but he has not been charged, said Patty Tillman, another attorney representing him.
The veterinary board suspended his license in May, and a hearing at the State Office of Administrative Hearings is scheduled for June 24-25 in Austin to determine the status of Tierce’s license.
‘Do you want to experiment?’
In her lawsuit, Davis described how Hercules was having difficulty walking and would “do the splits” and fall over. She took him to a veterinarian who prescribed antibiotics. She then took him to Tierce’s clinic in November for a second opinion. According to court documents, Tierce told Davis that Hercules had hydrocephalus. Tierce kept him two days, treating him with steroids and placing him in a hyperbaric chamber.
Davis took her dog home, but on Thanksgiving Day, Hercules fell off the bed and was unconscious and “dry heaving.” Fearing neurological problems, Davis took the dog back to Tierce’s clinic, the lawsuit says.
According to court documents, Tierce asked Davis, “Do you want to experiment?” Davis consented, although she had reservations, according to the lawsuit.
During the next two weeks, Davis called to check on Hercules, and Tierce told her that the dog was doing well. But on Dec. 14, Davis and her family went to the clinic and were “horrified by what they saw. Hercules was in a small cage, “unresponsive with his eyes rolled back in his head,” according to court documents.
He was also covered in feces and urine. The lawsuit describes how Davis took Hercules out of the cage and bathed him. Tierce apparently told her that Hercules’ condition had worsened.
Dog discovered during raid
Davis signed papers to have her dog euthanized and was told that he would be buried at Tierce’s ranch. She could not emotionally handle being on hand for the euthanization, the lawsuit says.
Four and a half months later, Fort Worth police detective contacted Davis and told her about Hercules being seized from the clinic.
“Ms. Davis was shocked beyond belief to learn that Hercules had not been euthanized as had been represented by Tierce and was still alive,” the lawsuit says.
It also says Davis received a call from a former clinic employee who said Hercules was subjected to cruel treatment including being placed under a heat lamp for so long that his eyeballs dried up and that his tongue stuck to a towel.
The lawsuit accuses Tierce of deceptive trade practices, violating the Theft Liability Act, breaching his fiduciary duty and intentionally inflicting emotional distress by knowingly lying to Davis about the condition of her dog and performing medical experiments without telling Davis or getting her consent.