Texas veterinarian Millard L. Tierce III, DVM, has lost his license for five years over allegations that included failing to euthanize four patients as promised and keeping a dog alive for use as a blood donor.
The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners approved a settlement with Dr. Tierce during a meeting Tuesday in Austin. Tierce, who attended the meeting but did not testify, agreed to the license suspension Oct. 1 and waived a formal disciplinary hearing.
The board found that Tierce violated seven state rules covering everything from standards of care and clinic sanitation to patient recordkeeping and the security of controlled substances.
Tierce, 71, will be allowed to continue owning and managing his hospital, Camp Bowie Animal Clinic in Fort Worth, while other practitioners tend to patients.
Marian Harris, who erroneously thought her dog Sid had been euthanized at Camp Bowie, pleaded with the board to revoke Tierce’s license rather than suspend it.
“What is going to be the deterrent to prevent future atrocities like the ones to which he has already confessed to from happening in the future?” she asked. “A suspension still allows Dr. Tierce to daily visit his clinic under the guise of administrative duties.”
She was upset with the suspension order.
“I just don’t understand what it would take in the state of Texas for a vet to get their license revoked, because the number of offenses and violations are really pretty significant,” she told a Dallas television station.
Board chairman Bud E. Alldredge Jr., DVM, could not be reached to comment.
Tierce also was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, fulfill all continuing education requirements, finish an additional 20 CE hours a year in practice management and recordkeeping, and undergo mental health counseling.
The disciplinary case began in late April when investigators showed up at Camp Bowie one week after Harris filed a complaint with the board. Harris had learned from veterinary technician Mary Brewer that Sid, a 170-pound Leonberger, was still alive six months after Tierce agreed to euthanize the dog because of a spinal condition that he said was causing pain and could not be treated.
Brewer told Harris that Sid and “several other animals” were kept in cages for all but 30 minutes a day, according to the suspension order.
Tierce admitted to investigators that “he used Sid as a blood donor to treat another animal without obtaining permission from Sid’s owners,” the board found.
The dog was returned to Harris and is undergoing physical therapy. Shelley Finger, DVM, who examined Sid after his release, found skin lesions, hypothyroidism and spinal neuropathy, among other ailments.
The investigators’ report outlined horrid conditions at Camp Bowie.
“A large amount of old animal organs were kept in jars throughout the clinic,” the suspension order stated. “Bugs were visible in an exam room. Stacks of drugs, trash, laundry, paperwork and other miscellaneous material were strewn about the examination rooms, hallways, stairways, operating room, laboratories and offices of the clinic.
“Open and unsecured medications, including some controlled substances, were also strewn about the clinic and in such a fashion that controlled substances could easily be stolen and abused by employees, clients or visitors of the clinic.”
The document detailed Tierce’s treatment of Sid and four other patients.
One involved a 14-year-old rat terrier whose surgery for a broken leg was delayed unnecessarily. His owner found him “face down in filth in the clinic office” after surgery and saw other dogs “lying on a filthy floor in their own urine and feces,” the board reported.
Harris and the owner of a Chihuahua that was found alive at the clinic four months after he was supposed to have been euthanized are suing Tierce.