Lawsuit: Fort Worth veterinarian experimented on Chihuahua

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by JOSH DAVIS

WFAA

Posted on June 2, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 2 at 5:24 PM

FORT WORTH -- A lawsuit filed by a pet owner against veterinarian Dr. Lou Tierce alleges the vet kept her Chihuahua alive and suffering for four-and-a-half months after she believed he had euthanized it.

Kimberly Davis claims an employee at the clinic told Davis her 12-year-old Chihuahua named Hercules was experimented on by Tierce after the dog was found in an April 29 raid of his animal clinic on Lovell Avenue.

Tierce's license to practice was suspended after the raid and the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners decided not to reinstate his license in a hearing early last month. All animals being treated at Camp Bowie Animal Clinic have been moved to Western Hills Animal Hospital.

Another hearing will be held by July 9 to determine the status of Tierce's license moving forward.

The lawsuit alleges that Hercules began having difficulty walking and standing and stopped eating and drinking in November 2013. Davis took the dog to one vet, who prescribed antibiotics, then to Tierce's Camp Bowie Animal Clinic for a second opinion. Tierce diagnosed the dog with hydrocephalus, a build up of fluid on the brain, and prescribed Hercules steroids in addition to the antibiotics before releasing the dog to Davis two days later.

On Thanksgiving day, Hercules again had trouble standing and fell from Davis' bed, hitting his head. Davis said the dog was unconscious and dry-heaving, so she returned to Tierce's office where she alleges he asked her, "Do you want to experiment?"

Davis said she consented out of desire to save her dog's life and Hercules was readmitted to the clinic. Over the next two weeks, Davis said she and Tierce spoke every day and the vet told her things were going well and the dog was not suffering.

On Dec. 14, Davis and her family visited the clinic and were "horrified" by what they saw, the suit says.

"Hercules was lying in a small cage, unresponsive, his eyes were rolled back in his head, and he was covered with feces and urine," the lawsuit says. "Dr. Tierce told [Davis] at the time that Hercules had 'taken a turn for the worse.'"

Davis said she told the veterinary technician she wanted the dog euthanized and the tech told her it was the right decision. She filled out the forms and was told the dog would be buried on Tierce's ranch. Davis and her family say they could not emotionally bear to be present when Hercules was put down, but they believed they made the right decision.

After the raid months later, Davis received a call from a Fort Worth police detective saying her dog had been found alive at the clinic. Hercules was taken to two other vets who said the dog should be euthanized, and he was.

Afterwards, the lawsuit states Davis got a call from a former employee of the clinic who said Hercules had been "horribly treated" and that Tierce had performed "medical experiments" on him. The former employee allegedly told her Hercules was "kept under a heat lamp so long his eyeballs had dried up," and "was so dehydrated that a towel would stick to his tongue."

The suit accuses Tierce of deceptive trade practices, theft liability, breach of fiduciary duty, gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud. The suit seeks damages in excess of $1 million.

At least one other family has also filed a $1 million suit against Tierce for allegedly keeping their pet alive after he had told them it had been euthanized.

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