AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) - A Texas veterinarian accused of keeping alive a dog he had promised to euthanize and using it as a source for blood transfusions was charged on Wednesday with animal cruelty.
Millard "Lou" Tierce, 71, was indicted by a grand jury in Tarrant County on charges of theft, misapplication of fiduciary property and animal cruelty relating to the treatment of the dog, prosecutors said.
A lawyer for Tierce declined to comment on the indictment, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Authorities were alerted to problems at Tierce's Camp Bowie Animal Clinic in April when a technician called the owners of a then-5-year-old dog named Sid that was supposed to be euthanized in October 2013 because of a spine disorder, according to legal documents.
The owners were told that Sid, a Leonberger breed that can weigh up 170 pounds, was being kept alive for experiments, the documents said.
Tierce told a veterinary board hearing in May that he did not euthanize the dog because he did not have a freezer large enough to store the body and was too busy to find the time to bury the animal at his ranch.
He said the dog was used for a single blood transfusion, but the dog's owners, Jamie and Marian Harris, told the Star-Telegram that Sid was being used for multiple blood extractions and medical experiments. [ID:nL6N0NV4V8]
Authorities found the dog in a feces-strewn cage. Sid was returned to his owners and has been recovering from injuries caused by his confinement.
Tierce has had his veterinary license suspended.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney)