- Associated Press - Friday, October 17, 2014

ALEDO, Texas (AP) - Six months ago, Marian Harris wondered if her dog Sid would ever walk normally again. The big Leonberger was kept in horrific conditions at a Fort Worth animal clinic after she thought he had been euthanized because of a spinal condition.

Now, Sid, 5, has special braces to help strengthen his hindquarters, which were severely weakened after months of confinement in a cage at the clinic. He was being used as a source of blood transfusions.

Last April, Harris filed a complaint with the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners after learning that Fort Worth veterinarian Millard Lou Tierce kept Sid alive after he recommended he be euthanized. The veterinary board suspended Tierce’s license in May after he was arrested in April on suspicion of animal cruelty.

The veterinary board will meet in Austin on Tuesday to vote on whether to accept a confidential settlement with Tierce. License suspension or revocation are among the possibilities.

Nicole Oria, executive director of the veterinary board, previously told the Star-Telegram that a suspension means a veterinarian cannot practice medicine, diagnose or write prescriptions, but can still own a practice. If the license were revoked, the veterinarian could not own a practice, but could apply for another license in five years.

When investigators raided Tierce’s clinic, they found trash, insects, unsanitary surgical conditions and organs in jars. They also found controlled substances that were not stored securely.

Tierce is also facing two lawsuits filed by Harris and by Kimberly Davis, who thought her Chihuahua had been euthanized but was still alive.

Harris and Davis are each seeking $1 million in damages.

Tierce’s Fort Worth attorney, Patty Tillman, declined comment Friday.

Sid is spending two days a week at PetsWest in Aledo working with L.J. Batson, a certified veterinary technician and director of rehabilitation services. Besides the spinal condition, his muscles were weakened from being caged for so long. Sid was originally taken to the clinic for treatment of his anal glands.

But according to Harris’ lawsuit, her family later learned that Sid was allegedly injured when an employee “flipped” the dog into a bathtub, and he landed on his back in an unnatural position, the lawsuit said.

Now he has a specially made pair of braces to help strengthen his hindquarters and remove stress from his front legs.

He playfully rolled on to his side this week when Batson slid the braces onto his paws.

“Let’s get your shoes on Sid; let’s walk!” she said.

Batson walked Sid around the large room. At first, he was awkward but he gradually got used to the braces.

Batson said she also wants to work with Sid outdoors, getting him used to walking up and down hills. Sid also gets workouts on a special treadmill.

He is slowly regaining the use of his hindquarters and “relearning” many things, Batson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (https://bit.ly/1waQGsy ).

Sid may never regain his full strength, Harris said.

“We’ve taken off the rose-colored glasses, but Sid is going to have a great quality of life. His goofy, very affectionate personality is back,” she said.

His life is a welcome gift.

“Sid is a happy part of the story,” Harris said. “He’s part of the family again.”

___

Information from: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, https://www.star-telegram.com


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