story updated 8:25 pm
FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A confession and a plea for compassion from a Fort Worth veterinarian Friday as he begged the state to let him work with animals again.
Friday the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners review board decided that the vet charged with animal cruelty will have to go through a formal disciplinary hearing to see if he’ll ever practice again.
Doctor Millard “Lou” Tierce admitted to the board that he kept four animals alive for months, even years, despite their owners asking to have the animals euthanized.
During the hearing Tierce said, “They [pet owners] have all the right to do what they wish with that dog and I don’t. And I accept that today.”
Tierce said he kept the animals alive for moral reasons, not realizing he was breaking the law. He made the claim despite having been a practicing vet for 48 years.
Tierce told the board deciding whether to lift his license suspension that he was a hoarder.
When investigators went to the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic they found paperwork strewn across his office, a dead kitten, and jars containing animal parts scattered about the building.
Of the situation Tierce said, “There also are places where I would file records that I needed to finish. And there we’re several different places I kept them. And it got to where it was, um, excessive.”
A number of people supporting Tierce made the trip to Austin and stood up for the veterinarian as he pleaded for a second chance. But some of the clients who trusted Tierce to euthanize their pets told the board that it is too late for apologies.
Dog owner Marian Harris said, “I mean, we’re happy. We have our dog back [and] he’s going to be fine. But this is family… the level of betrayal is just so incomprehensible.”
Tierce told the panel he is a hoarder and a poor organizer, but a good veterinarian. “Because I can change. I’m asking for an opportunity to remain a veterinarian and continue to serve my community,” he said. “If I’m not a veterinarian, I’m nothing.”
In the end, the board did not return Tierce’s license telling him, “… and a formal disciplinary hearing should proceed against you Doctor.”
The disciplinary hearing will be held within 60 days, at which time there’s a very real possibility Tierce could lose his license for good.
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