NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Animal Lovers Stand Up For A Fort Worth Vet Accused Of Abusing Pets

Supporters of Fort Worth veterinarian Lou Tierce have launched a social media campaign to defend him. His Camp Bowie Animal Clinic has been shut down and his license suspended while the state investigates allegations of animal abuse. 

Josh Gil has been taking his boxer to Tierce for years.

“He always had a gentle spirit,” Gil said. “A kindness towards all the animals. The way he handled my dog, my dog never seemed tense. My dog never seemed timid or scared. I’ve had my dog for over eight years now, and it’s because of Dr. Tierce that today, and every day, I get to go home and see my best friend.”

Gil is now a member of a group called They created a Facebook page, and made this YouTube video: “This is Sydney, Gemma and Tex, all clients of Dr. Tierce. And if you’re like us, you’ve been through these doors, on more than one occasion, with a life-threatening emergency …”

"He has a lot of good left to do"

The video inspired Laurie Hall to defend her longtime veterinarian publicly.

“I wanna see him given the chance to come back,” Hall said. “He has a lot of good left to do for people, and for their pets. He’s such a knowledgeable man that he deserves to keep practicing.”

Marian Harris was a loyal customer for 26 years. Sid, her 5-year-old Leonberger, was supposed to have been euthanized last year. Turns out, Tierce didn’t put down the 170-pound dog, and is accused of using him as a blood donor.

At first, Harris didn’t believe what had happened to Sid.

“I was such a loyal customer and client here,” Harris said.

Harris was reunited with her dog after a former employee quit the clinic and told her Sid was still alive. Now, she’s suing.

Tierce declined to comment for this story. But he's previously described the allegations as "a bunch of hooey."

"I didn't get turned away"

For four decades, Tierce, 71, ran his business as if he was in rural America.

“He’s an old-school country veterinarian. And if he was in the country, this wouldn’t have been an issue," said Bill Watson, who’s been taking his three pet goats and his four dogs to Tierce for 15 years.

He doesn’t believe that his vet is capable of animal cruelty.  

“Put yourself with a dog in your hand, beating on the door at 11 o’clock at night,” Watson said. “I’ve been there. ... I’ve knocked on the door ... and I didn’t get turned away. I’ve been there (crying). And anyone who can say those things never had a dog.”

Jania Nutt, an Arlington resident, says Tierce is compassionate, and the most experienced vet she knows.

“If my dog, any of my animals, were to have an issue, I would not know what to do without Dr. Tierce at this point,” Nutt said. “And that’s a very terrifying reality for those of us who are watching this very carefully.”

Asked if she thought it was right to bleed a dog without consent of its owners, she says: “If that is what he needed to do to save another dog’s life. And [if] my dog happened to be a match, I would expect him to do what he needs to do. ... I trust him, his medical judgment. ... I would want him to move forward.”

Fifty of the vet’s customers traveled to Austin two weeks ago for a hearing on his license. A new hearing is scheduled later this summer.

Doualy Xaykaothao is a newscaster and reporter for NPR, based in Culver City. She returned to NPR for this role in 2018, and is responsible for writing, producing, and delivering national newscasts. She also reports on breaking news stories for NPR.