No doubt you recall back in April 2015, when Kristen Lindsey, a Texas veterinarian, shot and killed a cat with a bow and arrow and then infamously bragged about it on Facebook, consequently losing her job and coming under fire from animal activists, the District Attorney’s office, and the Veterinary Board. In the post she bragged, “My first bow kill, lol. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it’s head! Vet of the year award … gladly accepted.”
A grand jury investigated the killing but unfortunately, in June 2015, found there was “insufficient proof” to charge Lindsey with animal cruelty. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF),
The Austin County District Attorney’s office then closed the case, claiming it could not confirm where the cat was killed, whether the cat had an owner, and whether the cat was killed “in a cruel manner.”
Earlier this year, in October 2016, the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners voted to suspend Lindsey’s veterinary license for a period of one year, along with some additional probation and continuing education and community service. While it was the first disciplinary action she had received from the state since this whole saga began – most agreed it was too little, too late.
That said, In the months since the Austin County District Attorney’s Office refused to charge Lindsey with animal cruelty, the Animal Legal Defense Fund says new information has come to light that confirms Lindsey’s actions were criminal cruelty and that opens the door to prosecution. According to the ALDF:
Lindsey acknowledged in a signed affidavit appealing the Board’s revocation decision that the killing “occurred on [her] property” in Austin County, Texas.
Although the District Attorney’s office cited American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) guidelines for humane killing in its finding that Lindsey may not have killed the cat “in a cruel manner,” the AVMA released a statement rebutting the DA’s analysis.
Lindsey claimed the cat she killed was feral. Texas Penal Code Section 42.092(a)(2) includes feral cats under its definition of protected “animals.”
Texas Penal Code Section 42.092(b) prohibits killing an animal “without the owner’s effective consent.” If the cat was feral, there was no way to get the “effective consent” of a nonexistent owner. But Lindsey’s neighbors, who were out of town when the killing occurred, identified the cat in the photo as their cat Tiger, based on his distinctive markings. And according to the Board’s formal complaint against Lindsey, Tiger had been a patient at the Washington Animal Clinic—Lindsey’s former employer. In either case, Lindsey lacked an “owner’s effective consent.”
Given this new information, Animal Legal Defense Fund wrote the Austin County DA’s office requesting that it reopen the case. Click here to read the letter.