Vet fakes euthanasia of Leonberger then steals dog for blood transfusions

An adult Leonberger dog like this one was stolen by a Vet and kept to supply blood for transfusions
An adult Leonberger dog like this one was stolen by a Vet and kept to supply blood for transfusions

– A bizarre tale of a greedy Vet and a not so dead Leonberger dog is perhaps one of the most unusual canine happenings the Daily Dog has yet encountered. Stranger than fiction, this true story is at the same time sad, bad and mad – all rolled into one very strange doggie adventure.

Millard Tierce, a 71 year old Veterinary Surgeon from Texas, USA, has been arrested on animal cruelty charges after “Sid” the Leonberger was found locked in a cage at the rear of Tierce’s  surgery. Apparently Sid had been kept in a cage by Tierce for six months – hence the cruelty charges – but that is only part of Sid’s stranger-than-fiction story.

Sid had been taken to Tierce’s clinic by his owner, Marian Harris, over an unrelated matter, and was told by Tierce that Sid had a hereditary spinal condition. Tierce advised Mrs Harris the kindest thing to do was have Sid put to sleep, which Mrs Harris agreed to. Little did she know however that Tierce had no intention of putting down a dog as large and healthy as Sid. Instead, once Mrs Harris had said a final goodbye to her beloved dog, instead of euthanasing Sid, Tierce took him to the rear of the clinic, caged him along with two other dogs, and used him as a source of blood transfusions for Tierce’s other canine patients.

Mrs Harris only found out the awful truth after an ex-employee of Tierce’s contacted her to say that Sid was alive and in captivity at Tierce’s clinic. Police and Veterinary authorities subsequently raided the surgery after Mrs Harris notified them (and we would imagine she did so rather quickly!), rescuing Sid and two other dogs at the same time.

By keeping a dog as large as Sid (and Leonbergers are a very large breed), Tierce was able to supply a significant amount of blood transfusions to other canine clients in need of them, and without going to the trouble of breeding and caring for his own dogs for the purpose, or obtaining blood from commercially available sources. However whilst Tierce saved money this way, and of course charged his clients the full commercial rate for canine transfusions, the end result appears likely to cost Tierce plenty. On the cusp of retirement, he has now lost his practice, is out on bail pending trial, and is being lined up by a number of former clients for civil action over the theft and use of their dogs in the same manner as happened to Sid.

Something that hasn’t been made clear is what penalties will be pursued against former and current employees of Tierce who no doubt knew of and were complicit with Tierce in his nefarious activities. It seems likely Mrs Harris may never have found out Sid’s true fate, nor had the opportunity to see him rescued if not for Tierce’s disgruntled ex-employee. One can only imagine what would have happened if the ex-employee was still in Tierce’s service – but we doubt it would have involved tipping off Mrs Harris.

Mrs Harris summed up the situation by saying, “The betrayal is so incredibly intense that nothing you have prepares you for the emotions. There’s anger, there’s joy that you have your dog back, there’s betrayal of this intense trust. And so it’s just really hard to camp on one particular emotion.” Indeed.

This story goes to the heart of the depth of trust people place in their Veterinarians. At pups4sale we have never heard of a similar case occurring in Australia, and hope we never do. The fact such behaviour from the Veterinary fraternity is practically unheard of is actually an endorsement of how ethical the vast majority of Vets are – a view fellow dog lovers in this nation will no doubt share with us.

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