Comment of the Day #2: “Animal Ethics: Now THIS Is An Unethical Veterinarian”

Sid the dog

Rarely has a post generated as many defenders of the target of my critique as the recent Ethics Alarms commentary regarding the Fort Worth, Texas arrest of Dr. Lou Tierce, an aging veterinarian who, according to Jamie and Marian Harris, agreed to euthanize their dog Sid—that’s Sid above— based on Tierce’s diagnosis, but instead kept the dog caged in filthy and inhumane conditions for six months, until a whistleblower on his staff alerted the Harrises. 

Here is a portion of the arrest report, regarding another dog at the same clinic:

“The dog was lying on the floor twitching in pain with one leg missing, one leg dislocated and two dislocated shoulders. I then spoke to the suspect, Dr. Millard Lucien Tierce. He told me that the injured black and white collie was his dog. He said he had given water and food to the dog but had not given any medical treatment to the dog. He said he had not euthanized the dog even though in his professional opinion he knew it needed to be.

Dr. Morris, DVM, of the Fort Worth Animal Clinic, arrived on the scene and performed an evaluation of the dog. He informed me that in his professional opinion the animal was a victim of animal cruelty and the conditions of the clinic were deplorable.

Animal Cruelty Investigator R. Jacobs spoke to Dr. Millard Tierce. Tierce told him he knew the dog needed to be euthanized but he did not allow it. He signed over ownership of his dog to the Fort Worth Animal Control and the Fort Worth Animal Control took the dog to their facility.

On April 29, 2014, Dr. M.L. Morris, DVM examined the black and white border collie. Dr. Morris concluded that the dog was emaciated, had severe mouth disease, cataracts, abnormal overall health, non-ambulatory bottom of foot missing, had a degenerative neurological and untreatable disease and should have been euthanized when originally accepted for treatment. The dog was then euthanized by the city of Fort Animal Shelter.

Due to the aforementioned facts and information being related to me as a result of this investigation, I have reason to believe and do believe that Millard Lucien Tierce, did commit the offense of Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals, against the laws of the State of Texas as set forth in the Penal Code; 42.092 (b)(l).”

Nonetheless, several loyal clients of Tierce’s clinic wrote to protest. They had entrusted their pets to him for many years, and he was clearly incapable of any kind of cruelty to Sid or any animal. The real villains were the Harrises. Or the tech who alerted them that their dog was still alive and being used for blood transfusions. Just wait, they assured me, when all the facts come out, this veterinarian from Hell will be exonerated. That the only way this could possibly occur would be for it to be proven that what the police thought was Sid was actually a hologram didn’t deter the doctor’s defenders at all.

Luckily, commenter Candy Roberts, a veterinary technician, put their arguments in perspective. Here is her much appreciated Comment of the Day on the post, Animal Ethics: Now THIS Is An Unethical Veterinarian:

 “I have been a Veterinary technician for 26 years. I live and breath my job, so I have a different perspective.

First, it is illegal to take a pet that an owner has signed euthanasia forms for. Believe me, there have been many over the years I have wanted to save, and unless and owner signs a surrender form, that pet is not yours to decide what you want, regardless of whether you are a vet or not. Second, I have seen several people say that, “yeah, the clinic was dirty and cluttered but the surgical equipment and surgical area were clean and all vets have animal organs hanging around.” Well, I say no way. It is impossible to have a sterile surgical unit if the rest of the clinic is dirty. There is absolutely no reason for a clinic to be dirty… none whatsoever. A animal clinic should be as clean as a human hospital and if it is not, there is a problem.

If you walk in and smell animals, the place is dirty and the doctors and staff are lazy.We do not, nor do any of the clinics I have ever worked for, have organs everywhere. No, we do not have a heart either: we have a model of one. The fact that they have excused a dirty clinic tells me the poor standard of care that his clients were used to. They know no better, which is why they are supporting him. Would they take their children to a dirty doctor’s office?

Why are none of his supporters discussing the actual charges brought against him? [Among other charges], he was charged for cruelty to his own dog. How can someone claim to care about his clients’ pets, yet allow his own dog to suffer with broken bones, a missing foot etc? This is so sad, and makes me ashamed that people like this are a part of a profession that I love so much.

Finally I wish his technicians had been charged as well and their license taken, if they have them. We are supposed to care for animals who are sick and broken, especially at the hands of others, yet they did nothing to help these animals who were suffering. By doing nothing they neglected their duties and their oaths just as [Dr. Tierce] did. There is never an excuse for dirty clinics, or mistreating animals. I hope the animals he hurt get justice, [and] that he will never be able to practice or even own an animal again. He should have retired years ago.”

14 thoughts on “Comment of the Day #2: “Animal Ethics: Now THIS Is An Unethical Veterinarian”

  1. This entire story has had me so upset that I haven’t had the heart to leave a comment, but this follow-up post does. I will only say that the vet and his assistants should be CRIMINALLY charged, the clinic closed, and any and all clinics that are part of its network closed as well. Michael Vick couldn’t have done better if one’s aim is torturing a total innocent.

    Cruelty to animals is one of the first signs of sociopathy. Cruelty to animals when one has taken an oath as a veterinarian to HELP animals is clear psychopathy. Don’t get him/them psychiatric help. Don’t just rescind his/their licenses. Don’t send them to jail. Chain up the vet and the techs and use THEM for transfusions, the bastards,

  2. When I read this post words of great vulgarity came spewing from my mouth.
    Words so foul they make Pazuzu and Scott sound like amateurs.

    I hope this *vet* suffers every single day for the rest of his worthless, rotten life.
    There is no penalty harsh enough.

  3. What horrifies me is the people who are still supporting him. I guess he never did anything to their pets, so therefore he is golden? I can’t even figure out the kind of mindset that requires pooh-poohing such overwhelming evidence of someone who is, at the very least, a depraved and wicked person.

    • Why do people still claim Michael Jackson was pure as the driven snow? Why do people still say Nixon was hounded from office, or that Clinton was a victim? Why does anyone say that JFK was a great man? Why is anyone fooled by Hillary? Why do people still insist that Obama is a brilliant, honest, skilled leader? Why do people still think the Rosenbergs were innocent? It’s self-delusion, because people fight to hold on to their illusions, and resent those who try to point out the horrible truth, especially when it makes them feel like dupes.

      • Mr Marshal I say that all the time. People just want to live the illusion because they also want what they want no matter what, so they are going to keep believing the marketing on anything that is convenient to their little lives.

      • Why do fools still think Iraqi’s flew planes into the twin towers? What idiots still believe Iraq had WMD’s. Why did we kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people just because George W. wanted to? Why did the tea baggers insist of the first day of office for Obama that they were NOT going to allow him to get anything accomplished and spent the next 6 years being the party of no? Why is it that republican’s are the only group of people that think gay people need repairing when the rest of the world has joined the current century and supporting the fact that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL? Why do baggers think women should make less than men? Why do Republican’s celebrate American’s killing innocent children in foreign lands as “collateral damage” but go ballistic when a woman terminates a pregnancy early due to her health? Why do Republican’s see the people running Abu Ghraib as heroes? What sort of old fool would select a Sarah Palin idiot to be in line to run this country? And lastly, who in the hell do you think actually believes in the year 2014 that ALL this non stop Obamabashing has anything at ALL to do with anything at ALL except the color of his skin?

        Yet how typical is it that someone would use this hideous event (one that might draw us ALL together from all parties) to remind us how separated we are. We will never be able to work for any COMMON cause because some people see only BLACK and can’t see beyond it.

        • Thank you for this exhaustive collection of hyper-partisan, biased, hateful, ignorant, naive, slanted, simple-minded, rationalizing, illogical, counterfactual, self-deceiving, hackneyed, intellectually lazy and depressing (because there are, sadly, too many Americans similarly deluded) leftist talking points for those too weak-minded to pay attention, respect facts or extend respect to your better educated, better functioning fellow citizens who are not so crippled by cant and ideological nonsense. Your last observation is signature significance for the rest, and establishes your credibility at zero.

          Now go away.

          • But just because you are an unusually pompous and ill-educated idiot, because this site explicitly bans political rants and because I’m in a bad mood, here is a ranking of your Top 8 most offensive and brain-addled statements from horrible to unbelievably horrible (the other two are just routine Bush-bashing talking points):

            8. Why did the tea baggers insist of the first day of office for Obama that they were NOT going to allow him to get anything accomplished and spent the next 6 years being the party of no? A popular myth without factual basis, introduced to excuse the utter incapacity of the President to compromise and deal with Congress, as competent Presidents can and do.

            7. Why do Republicans celebrate American’s killing innocent children in foreign lands as “collateral damage” but go ballistic when a woman terminates a pregnancy early due to her health? Read up on the difference between legal and illegal killing,on apples and oranges, and also on the straw man fallacy. Most Republicans are not especially concerned about abortions necessary for the health of the mother, nor oppose them.

            6. Why did we kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people just because George W. wanted to?
            That’s right, the US attacked the Taliban and Iraq just because President Bush was a homicidal maniac. You are such an idiot. How did you get this way?

            5. What sort of old fool would select a Sarah Palin idiot to be in line to run this country? An “old fool” who needed a more conservative and energetic running mate who was more qualified and experienced than the man running against him that the media was doing backflips over, meaning that he was not a fool at all.

            4. Why do baggers think women should make less than men? They don’t think that, and you will find not a single statement from any conservative or Republican stating that. They think grandstanding legislation shouldn’t be passed when it isn’t necessary. Using the term “baggers,” however, is pure ad hominem slurring, and the mark of a jerk.

            3. Why is it that Republican’s are the only group of people that think gay people need repairing when the rest of the world has joined the current century and supporting the fact that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL? A flat out lie, and ignorant regarding “the rest of the world,” too. In much of the world, homosexuality is a crime.

            2. Why do Republicans see the people running Abu Ghraib as heroes? Too stupid to comment on.

            1. And lastly, who in the hell do you think actually believes in the year 2014 that ALL this non stop Obamabashing has anything at ALL to do with anything at ALL except the color of his skin? An incompetent, arrogant, unengaged, dishonest, divisive, accountability-ducking leader who raised high expectations without the skill and character to deliver on them is being bashed, correctly, for being an incompetent, arrogant, unengaged, dishonest, accountability-ducking leader who raised high expectations without the skill and character to deliver on them, and for no other reason. Attributing this to race is despicable.YOU are despicable.

  4. I’m not sure if this is well known, but the vet tech who was compassionate enough to let Sid’s owners know he was still alive stated she had a criminal record, didn’t think that she would believed re: the shenanigans at the clinic.

    I hope people can keep this in perspective; this reminds me of the situation in an abortion clinic. The doctor makes sure to have staff that can be controlled/manipulated into thinking they are powerless to change things and no one will take their side. The techs were probably providing the only love those poor animals were receiving. Pray for them, and the vet; I truly think he has no clue of the evil he has done!

  5. this gives visibility to a growing problem. I am also a victim of a situation in which a veterinarian REQUIRES a service or procedure that the pet never receives, but the end result also is the veterinarian taking possession of my pet. Now my story is in no way close to what happened to Sid, but it shows the beginnings of similar habits in which the vet finds it acceptable to confiscate your animal using procedures or treatments that are offered or imposed with the intent of obtaining possession of the pet

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