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Texas vet kept doomed dog for transfusions, board says

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By The Associated Press
Thursday, May 1, 2014, 8:15 p.m.
 

EL PASO — State officials suspended a Texas veterinarian's license on Thursday when he admitted telling some clients that he would euthanize their pets but instead kept the animals alive in cages for months in his clinic in Fort Worth.

Dr. Lucien Tierce was arrested a day earlier on animal cruelty charges. Agents with the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners searched his Camp Bowie Animal Clinic and found “animal organs in jars” and “stacks of drugs, trash, laundry” and bugs throughout the clinic, the board said.

A former client alleged Tierce told her that her dog needed to be euthanized, but she reported she was called by a former clinic employee six months later who told her the animal had been kept alive in a cage and used for blood transfusions.

In a written statement to investigators, Tierce acknowledged that his clinic was unsanitary and that he kept five animals that should have been euthanized, according to the board's report. But the report doesn't specify if he explained why he kept the animals.

Board spokeswoman Nicole Oria said the statement was part of an ongoing investigation and that other details wouldn't be released.

Tierce was released from jail on $10,000 bond after turning himself in on Wednesday evening. His clinic declined comment on Thursday.

The board's order of temporary suspension said Tierce signed a statement admitting he had not euthanized four animals he accepted from clients and one dog of his own. One of the animals had been kept in a cage for two to three years since it was accepted for euthanasia in the clinic.

Standard practice in Texas is to euthanize an animal on the day the procedure is requested.

According to the report, former clients Marian and James Harris took their dog — a 170-pound Leonberger — to Tierce for a minor procedure in May 2013. Tierce said the dog needed therapy and should stay at the clinic, according to the couple.

Over the next months, they were told the dog was improving but would not yet be released. In October, Tierce told the Harrises that the dog had a birth defect in its spine and euthanasia was the only option. The couple agreed and paid for the euthanasia.

But in April, the couple received a call from Mary Brewer, a veterinary technician, who said their dog was alive and was kept in a cage for 23½ hours a day. She told them that it was being used for experiments and that other animals were being treated the same way.

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