FORT WORTH — Fort Worth police said veterinarian Dr. Lou Tierce turned himself in Wednesday night to face an animal cruelty charge after complaints that a dog brought to his clinic for euthanization was never put down.
Tierce arrived at police headquarters shortly after 7 p.m. He was processed, a mug shot was taken, and then he posted a $10,000 bond.
Flanked by his attorney and family, Tierce didn't comment while making his way to a waiting car Wednesday.
Documents from the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners obtained by News 8 Thursday say Tierce admitted to keeping keeping five animals alive at his clinic that were supposed to be euthanized.
The report says conditions inside the clinic were "unsanitary," that animal organs were kept in jars all over the clinic, bugs were visible in the exam room, and at least one animal was kept in a cage for two-to-three years after it was supposed to have been euthanized.
According to spokeswoman Loris Jones, the state board temporarily suspended Tierce's license Wednesday at about 4 p.m. after an emergency phone hearing with the executive discipline committee. A full hearing regarding his license will be held in the next two weeks.
Police said an arrest warrant was issued earlier on Wednesday for one charge of Cruelty to Animals Non-livestock.
An attorney for the Harris family, who leveled the initial allegations against the longtime veterinarian, said they were aware of the arrest.
Tierce was seen helping a dog into his clinic on Lovell Avenue in Fort Worth Wednesday afternoon, just one day after allegations surfaced that the veterinarian had kept a dog alive and used it for a blood transfusion after telling the owners the dog would be euthanized.
“So many people do recommend him and think he’s God’s gift to animals,” said former client Keri Eagle.
But Eagle is now having second thoughts.
She said she had to put her miniature pinscher to sleep after the dog’s condition worsened under Tierce’s care. She went to the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic Wednesday to find out if her experience could help in the investigation.
“I thought I was doing the best thing for her, and now this comes out, and I feel terrible,” Eagle said.
On Tuesday, local and state officials swarmed the animal clinic, eventually seizing two dogs as they investigate animal cruelty claims.
Tierce would not speak with News 8 on camera on his attorney’s advice, but he told our media partners at the Star-Telegram that this is “all a bunch of hooey.”
“The lady wanted me to euthanize their dog, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it,” he told the paper.
That "lady" he speaks of is Marian Harris, and she said the euthanasia was Tierce’s suggestion. It wasn’t until this month that a former employee called to say her dog was still alive -- six months later.
Jim Eggleston, the attorney for Marian Harris, said he's learned of at least one other person who thought their pet had been put to sleep, but had not. Police would not confirm that.
Still, many people -- including Reggie Phillips -- are standing by Tierce, who has been licensed since 1966.
“He’s the hardest-working, most caring, and -- I think -- one of the smartest vets in the country,” Phillips said.
And he said he’ll continue to bring his business here, as he has for the last 40 years.
Fort Worth police say any pet owners who wish to make a report about Camp Bowie Animal Clinic should call the department's non-emergency number, 817-335-4222. Tell the operator you wish to make a report about the clinic at 5709 Lovell Avenue and mention related report No. 14-37697.