After learning from the vet, Lou Tierce, that their family dog, Sid, a 5-year-old, 175-pound Leonberger, had congenital spine defect, Jamie and Marianne Harris of Aledo, Texas made the difficult decision to have their pet euthanized.
Seven months later, a vet tech revealed to the family that Sid was still alive, that he had never been put down, that since last fall, Sid had been been kept alive by the vet to offer blood transfusions to other animals.
The Harrises immediately stormed the clinic to retrieve Sid and filed a complaint with the state.
“The biggest hurt in all of this is the deception and what it means with something that means so much to you,” Marianne Harris said. “Our pets are family members.”
The Harrises also took Sid to a different vet to be examined and contacted their lawyer.
"He could not find a blood vein on this dog," said Jim Eggleston, the attorney representing the Harris family. "There was evidence this dog has been bled -- a lot."
Eggleston said there are allegations that more dogs and cats -- some with serious illnesses -- were also kept alive for blood transfusions and other experimental treatments.
“You have a vet keeping dogs under false pretenses,” Eggleston said. “You have family pets that people thought were cremated or put down peacefully that may still be alive.”
After the raid, animal control workers carried out two dogs from the clinic.
“At this point, these animals are evidence,” said Sgt. Raymond Bush, a police spokesman who confirmed that police received a complaint last week that animals were being mistreated and stolen from their owners by the vet.
Bruce Barker, a client of the vet who stopped by while the Star-Telgram was on the scene said, “They’re innocent as far as I’m concerned until there’s proof.”
When told about the allegations, Barker said, “That’s not going to keep me from bringing my dog here. He’s absolutely the best vet I’ve ever seen,” adding, “I’d let him operate on me.”