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Tag: transfusions

Getting every last drop from greyhounds

As if racing their hearts out weren’t enough, some greyhounds are retired to dog blood banks where they live caged all day long, except for outings to get their blood drawn.

PETA last month exposed one such kennel, The Pet Blood Bank, Inc., in Cherokee, Texas, which houses about 150 retired greyhounds — solely for the purpose of extracting and selling their blood and blood products.

The products, PETA reported, are distributed by Patterson Veterinary Supply, Inc., which did about $3 billion worth of business in 2016.

After the the PETA expose and a story in The Washington Post, Patterson Veterinary Supply announced it would take steps to correct the horrible conditions they described.

bloodbankBut PETA says no steps have been taken, even after they had Paul McCartney send a plea to the company.

Patterson Veterinary Supply initially announced it would terminate business with the The Pet Blood Bank, Inc.

It also promised to support “efforts to ensure that the animals receive appropriate care.” Bu PETA says it has seen no evidence of any such efforts.

The whistle-blower was Bill Larsen, 60, a former employee of the blood bank who went back to work there and was horrified by how conditions had deteriorated.

Larsen, who took the incriminating photos, said he unsuccessfully sought help from local animal shelters and a state agency before contacting PETA. “I just like dogs,” he said, and “hate for any animal to get treated like that.”

The photos show kenneled dogs with open wounds, rotting teeth and toenails curling into their paw pads.

The blood bank was founded in 2004 by Austin entrepreneur Mark Ziller, who said he initially sought volunteers and used a bloodmobile. When that did not turn up enough dogs, the company began using retired greyhounds housed in a kennel on a private farm northwest of Austin, the Post reported.

Ziller said he sold the company in November 2015 to Shane Altizer, whose family owns the farm in Cherokee.

“The Pet Blood Bank had a noble mission: It provided blood for veterinarians to use in lifesaving transfusions,” Ziller tod the Post. After viewing the photos PETA obtained, he added, “To see the animals in that state is beyond depressing.”

Altizer did not deny that the images were taken there, but said they predated his 2015 purchase of the company or were “moment snapshots” unrepresentative of overall conditions now.

Blood banks help save thousands of animals a year, but they are also profit-driven and unregulated.

With more medical procedures being used by vets, transfusions are more often required, and animal blood banks struggle to meet the demand. Only one state, California, regulates such operations and requires annual inspections.

bloodbank2Greyhounds are considered especially desirable as donors because they typically have a universal blood type and have big neck veins that make drawing blood easy.

Veterinarian Anne Hale, former CEO of the nation’s first and largest commercial animal blood bank, said she visited the Pet Blood Bank this summer and was “pleasantly surprised” with conditions there. After viewing the PETA photos and video though, she said, “It appears that the facility was ‘cleaned up’ before our touring … I agree that this facility should be addressed. This certainly suggests that regional, state and/or federal regulation is warranted.”

Former Beatle McCartney, who wrote a letter on PETA’s behalf, wants to see all the dogs removed from the facility.

“I have had dogs since I was a boy and loved them all dearly, including Martha who was my companion for about 15 years and about whom I wrote the song ‘Martha, My Dear,'” McCartney wrote. “I join my friends at PETA in asking you to pay these greyhounds back, and to let them retire from the dirt-floored, barren conditions in which they are kept isolated and alone.”

(Photos and video from PETA)

Fort Worth vet admits to keeping five “euthanized” dogs alive to harvest blood

leonberger

Sid, the Leonberger, apparently wasn’t the only dog a Fort Worth veterinarian promised to euthanize, then kept alive for the purpose of harvesting blood.

Millard “Lou” Tierce III, owner of Camp Bowie Animal Clinic, told investigators in a written statement that there were at least five dogs that — after assuring owners he was going to euthanize their pets — he secretly kept alive for blood transfusions and experimentation.

tierceTierce was arrested April 30 and charged with animal cruelty.

The Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has scheduled a hearing on whether Tierce, whose license has been temporarily suspended, should face permanent suspension.

That’s scheduled for May 9 in Austin, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The investigations of Tierce began when Sid’s owners filed a complaint against him.

Marian and James Harris said they took their 170-pound Leonberger to Tierce’s clinic in May 2013 for a minor gland problem. Tierce kept the dog at his clinic for six months, during which time he performed cold laser therapy. In October, though, he told the couple the dog should be euthanized due to a birth defect in his spine.

The couple agreed to have Sid euthanized, and Tierce promised to bury the dog at his farm.

Last month, though, a former clinic employee told the Harrises that Sid was still alive, and being kept in a cage for all but 30 minutes a day.

Upon learning that, the Harrises went to the clinic and removed their dog.

On April 29, the board conducted a clinic inspection and found “animal organs were kept in jars throughout the clinic. Bugs were visible in exam rooms. Stacks of drugs, trash, laundry, paperwork and other miscellaneous material were strewn about the examination rooms, hallways, stairwells, operating room, laboratories and offices of the clinic.”

Board investigators received a signed, handwritten statement from Tierce that he had accepted five animals for euthanasia and had kept them at his clinic without euthanizing them, the report stated.

Fort Worth police also went to the clinic on April 29, along with an outside veterinarian who concluded three other dogs being held there were suffering so much they should have been euthanized — including one who belonged to Tierce.

According to Tierce’s arrest warrant, a clinic employee told police that Tierce’s dog, a border collie, had been lying on a pallet in the same spot since she started work in June, without receiving medical treatment.

Vet kept their “euthanized” dog alive — and used him for blood transfusions, family says

Imagine being told by your vet that your dog had an incurable condition and had to be euthanized.

Imagine saying your goodbyes and agreeing to let the vet put the dog down, with the promise that he would bury him on his farm.

Now imagine learning — six months later — that your dog never died, and the vet was keeping him alive to use him for blood transfusions.

A veterinary clinic in Fort Worth is under investigation for just such a Frankenstein-like scenario, NBC 5 reports.

campbowieFort Worth police, the city of Fort Worth and state officials are involved in an investigation that started when a client of the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic found out his “euthanized” dog, a 5-year-old Leonberger named Sid, was alive.

Alive and well, in fact — except for being kept in a cage around the clock, and apparently being periodically tapped for blood at the clinic.

Jamie and Marian Harris said they took their dog to the vet for a minor anal gland issue.

After getting treated, Sid had trouble walking.

They say the vet, Lou Tierce, told them their dog had a spinal condition that was only going to get worse, and recommended he be put down. The couple and the son agreed to let the clinic bury Sid on the vet’s farm.

Six months later, the Harrises received a call from a veterinary technician, Mary Brewer, who told them Sid was alive and being used for blood transfusions while being kept in a cage most of the day.

“I told her, ‘He’s still here,’ and she’s like, ‘Can he walk?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, he’s here waiting on you. If you came today, he’d walk out and jump in your car,'” Brewer told News 5.

“It was like getting punched in the stomach and then some,” said Marian Harris. “This has rocked our world. My kids are like, ‘How does somebody do this?’ How does this happen?”

The couple went to the clinic, found Sid and freed him.

State and local authorities went to the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic Tuesday and seized several animals as evidence.

Sid, now back home, is being treated by other veterinarians. They’ve found he has mange, and shows signs of being used for blood transfusions, as well as being “abusively kenneled,” according to the Harrises’ lawyer, Jim Eggleston.

Eggleston says allegations have surfaced that more dogs and cats — some with serious illnesses — were being kept alive for blood transfusions and other experimental treatments, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“You have a vet keeping dogs under false pretenses,” he said. “You have family pets that people thought were cremated or put down peacefully that may still be alive.”

Tierce has not been responding to media requests for his side of the story.

When the Harrises drove to the clinic to pick up their dog, they found Sid in a cage behind the building. Tierce came outside, according to their complaint, and explained that he had not euthanized Sid because some of his employees had threatened to quit if he did.

An investigator from the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners met with Fort Worth police and the Tarrant County District Attorney yesterday to discuss whether criminal animal abuse charges will be filed.