Jamie and Marian Harris brought their family dog to a Fort Worth, Texas, animal clinic in October 2013 and later agreed, at the recommendation of their vet, to allow him to be euthanized due to several worsening health conditions.
Fast forward to last week when the Harris family learned their 4-year-old Leonberger was alive, and even more surprising, that he could have been used for blood transfusions in the past six months.
Marian Harris alleged that the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic was using their dog for plasma donations and other experiments, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Since filing a formal complaint against the clinic last week, state and local police have gotten involved and the family’s attorney, Jim Eggleston, said more allegations of animal abuse have emerged.
“You have a vet keeping dogs under false pretenses,” Eggleston told the newspaper. “You have family pets that people thought were cremated or put down peacefully that may still be alive.”
On Tuesday, Fort Worth police raided the clinic, taking two dogs as evidence.
Dr. Millard Tierce was identified as the veterinarian at the clinic, according to police, but WFAA-TV noted that some know the vet as going by the name Lou. Police spokesman Sgt. Raymond Bush told TheBlaze that the doctor was arrested Wednesday night.
The Harris family first learned their dog, Sid, was still alive on April 21 when a former employee of the clinic called them after she said quit. The employee, identified as Mary Brewer by WFAA, told Marian Harris that Sid was kept in a filthy cage and had been injured.
After hearing this, the Star-Telegram reported that Jamie and Marian Harris went to the clinic with friends who guarded the entrances and exits. While husband spoke with a receptionist, Marian told the newspaper that she went to a back room and found Sid in a cage.
Now, Sid is back home with the Harris family, who learned that he might have been used for blood transfusions after taking him to another vet for evaluation.
“The betrayal is so incredibly intense that nothing you have prepares you for the emotions,” Marian Harris told KTXA-TV. “There’s anger, there’s joy that you have your dog back, there’s betrayal of this intense trust.”
Watch KTXA’s report:
Other pet owners expressed shock over these allegations.
“We love this vet. They’ve been nothing but good for us,” Symantha Spence told the Star-Telegram in a video outside the clinic, saying she wanted to make sure their dog actually died as she was informed by the clinic. “He was a good dog … but he was sick. So we really do believe that he did pass away, but we never verified it. We never saw him.”
Watch the Star-Telegram’s video from outside the clinic Tuesday:
Bruce Barker, whose dog was put down at the clinic in December, called Dr.Tierce a “genius” but said he now wants to see proof of his dog’s death. Until then, he considers the vet “innocent … until there’s proof.”
Brewer, who called the Harris family with information about their dog, told WFAA that this isn’t the first case.
“I think he’s evil,” she said of the veterinarian. “Anybody that can do that and not have no remorse … something’s wrong.”
TheBlaze’s call for comment to the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic Thursday morning went unanswered. Fort Worth Police did not immediately return TheBlaze’s request for more information.
(H/T: Daily Mail)
This story has been updated.