Vet accused of secretly keeping family’s pet alive for blood transfusions

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FORT WORTH, Texas – A veterinarian’s office is under investigation after one family claims their dog was kept alive for blood transfusion purposes for six months after they were advised to have him euthanized.

According to the Star-Telegram Jamie and Marian Harris said they had taken the family’s then four-year-old Leonberger, Sid, into the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic in Fort Worth to be examined by veterinarian Lou Tierce in May 2013. The couple said by October of 2013 Dr. Tierce had told them the animal needed to be euthanized due to an incurable degenerative spinal condition.

Marian says she learned just days ago, after receiving a phone call from a former employee of the clinic, that her beloved family pet was actually still alive and being “bled” for plasma for the use of blood transfusions in other dogs. The phone call came six months after she was told he would be euthanized within 24 hours last fall. She says she was told Sid was being neglected and had been forced to live in a cage at the clinic all the while the family thought he had been laid to rest.

“The biggest hurt in all of this is the deception and what it means with something that means so much to you,” she told the Star-Telegram. “Our pets are family members.”

On Tuesday, the Fort Worth police and members of the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners raided the clinic and seized two dogs from the premise as evidence in the investigation. The family filed a complaint with the state and hired an attorney to represent them. The attorney, Jim Eggleston, said several other allegation have come out about the clinic keeping even more pets alive — some with serious illnesses — for the use of blood transfusions and other experimental treatments.

“You have a vet keeping dogs under false pretenses,” Eggleston told the Star-Telegram. “You have family pets that people thought were cremated or put down peacefully that may still be alive.”

According to the Star-Telegram’s detailing of the allegations, the Harris’ complaint said they had taken their dog to the clinic to be treated for issues related to some of his glands. They said Dr. Tierce had suggested a new kind of treatment for their dog, and so the family had left Sid in the vet’s care back in May of 2013. In September 2013 the family went to visit their dog to find him unable to use his hind legs. It was at that point they said they agreed to let the clinic handle the dog’s euthanization and burial.

Six months later in April 2014, after receiving the phone call from the clinic’s former employee stating their pet was still living at the facility, the family said they worked together to distract a front desk employee as one of them made their way back to the cages where they discovered their dog and later rescued him. At the time, the Harris’ said Dr. Tierce claimed his reason for not putting their dog to sleep was to prevent one of his employees from quitting.

The family said they took Sid to a different veterinarian’s office where they said it was discovered the dog had been taped for blood transfusions, and that it was not necessary for him to be euthanized.

In the past week after hearing about the allegations against the clinic, some pet owners who had had their animals supposedly put down by the vet, have shown up at the clinic hoping their animals might still be alive.

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