Veterinarian Who Shot Cat with Arrow Not Charged with Crime

Lindsey-with-cat-475x280The story made international news when Texas veterinarian Dr. Kristin Lindsey posted an image on her Facebook page of a cat she boasted shooting with an arrow through this headline. Accompanying the image, on April 17, she wrote, “My first bow kill, LOL. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through its head. The vet of the year award…. gladly accepted.”’

It turned out Lindsey reportedly killed an owned cat named Tiger, and not a feral tomcat as she suggested.

What didn’t make headlines was the recent puzzling response from an Austin County Grand Jury, which on June 24 declined to indict Lindsey.

After her Facebook post, Lindsey was swiftly released from her job at Washington Animal Clinic in Brenham, TX. Within days, the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, American Association of Feline Practitioneers and other organized veterinary groups as well as a myriad of animal welfare agencies and trap, neuter, return organizations quickly posted statements condemning Lindsey’s actions.

According to a press release issued by Travis J. Koehn, criminal district attorney of Austin County, “The Grand Jury examined all the evidence and determined there was insufficient proof to charge Kristen Lindsey with a crime.”

So, how is intentionally taking an arrow and shooting a defenseless animal not a crime?

I am no attorney, but I can easily answer each of the three points used by the Grand Jury to defend their decision to waive charges being filed.

1) Grand Jury statement: “lf the State could prove an incident did occur in Texas, Texas Penal Code 42.092 essentially requires the State to prove that either 1) a defendant killed a stray cat in a cruel manner, or 2) a defendant killed a cat without the owner's consent.”

My comment: Lindsey herself conceded where the incident took place. And if shooting a cat with an arrow through it’s skull isn’t defined as cruel; I wonder what it would take to define cruel. And obviously she killed the cat without owner consent.

2) Grand Jury statement: “Investigators were never able to positively confirm the identity of the cat seen in the social media photograph. Although one witness believes the cat to be a pet named Tiger, three different area residents had fed similar looking cats at one time or another that had no collar and had strayed. Evidence was insufficient to positively identify an owner for the cat in the online photograph.”

My comment: Based on several local media reports, it’s clear the cat shot was Tiger. Even if it was another cat, experts have pointed out (based on where the arrow entered the cat’s head) that the cat was approaching Lindsey, rather than running off – which is what an unsocialized feral cat would surely do. Being a veterinarian, Lindsey should have understood the difference.

Why does it matter if the cat was Tiger? Clearly, she shot an arrow through the head of a defenseless cat. The Grand Jury is suggesting that if the cat is un-owned and feral, the cat has less value, and shooting him is then deemed acceptable. While this could legally be true in Texas, it’s reprehensible.

3) Grand Jury Statement: “The American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines state that physical methods of killing animals such as a gunshot or bolt to the head can be humane when done correctly. (AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, 2013 Ed., at 11-12). When performed properly, the animal may exhibit involuntary movements but is unaware and unable to experience pain. (AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, 2013 Ed., at 16). Evidence is insufficient, based on the online photograph alone, to determine whether the animal was killed in a cruel manner.”

My comment: This statement is astoundingly ridiculous as well as deceptive.

Here’s what the AVMA says on their website. "We were surprised by the District Attorney’s reference to the AVMA and our Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, 2013 Edition in conveying the June decision of the Austin County Grand Jury in the Kristen Lindsey case. The AVMA was neither consulted nor asked to provide information regarding the case, and we were not aware that the Guidelines would be presented in this way. Based on the statements in the press release, the District Attorney’s application of the Euthanasia Guidelines was seriously flawed.”

The AVMA elaborates on their website why their euthanasia statement is being taken out of context and does not serve to vindicate Lindsey’s actions.

This Grand Jury decision is supposed to have no impact on The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners review regarding whether Lindsey can retain her Texas veterinary license. Now, I wonder.

The Grand Jury’s arguments are surprisingly superficial and inaccurate. I can’t help but wonder why the AVMA or other experts weren’t consulted. For whatever the reason, it’s clear the Grand Jury just didn’t want to prosecute.

I believe if Lindsey had shot a puppy charges more likely would have been filed, but cats appear to have another standard, particularly if the cat is possibly a “nuisance” stray.

Clearly, Austin County just wants this mess to all go away. It doesn’t mean the same case can’t be elevated to the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Given that millions around the globe saw the evidence, you’d think felony animal cruelty charges would be a no-brainer. There’s nothing alleged about this crime.

©Steve Dale PetWorld, LLC; Tribune Content Agency


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Positively Expert: Steve Dale

Steve is a certified dog and cat behavior consultant, has written several books, hosts two nationally syndicated radio shows, and has appeared on numerous TV shows including "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "National Geographic Explorer," and "Pets Part of the Family." Steve’s blog is www.stevedale.tv


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34 thoughts on “Veterinarian Who Shot Cat with Arrow Not Charged with Crime

  1. brainiac 1900

    My former feral tomcat does not need an arrow in his skull to be a good tomcat. I am a lifetime dog person, but I saved this guy from the needle and he is the most-loving, well-behaved cat ever. After being around my basset hounds for the past 6 years, the cat actually thinks he is a dog. Shame on this kill-happy vet.

  2. Liverpool Lou

    Regardless of whether the cat was owned or feral, what decent veterinarian can shoot, with a bow and arrow, any animal? Answer..? None. She isn't a decent vet - she isn't even a decent human being. She should be stripped of her qualifications at the very least and banned from practising.

  3. Mindy

    Is there anything we can do to protest the Grand Jury decision or to encourage the state to revoke her license?

  4. Cynthia Sayler Harding

    WHY are there NO comments here??????????? .......and WHY has NO-ONE close to the situation started a petition for her to be tried with a FELONY???

  5. Jayprime

    What is the saying about an eye for an eye?
    Plaaaasssseeee can we do to her what she did?

  6. Janna Williams Smith

    Our courts countenance cruelty to animals, and use weak defenses to avoid prosecuting it.Considering that cruelty to animals is part of the "homicidal triad", I am surprised to find them taking it so lightly. But this is Texas, so what else can you expect? I'm just glad I've never been there, and have no plans to ever go. And still we wonder why people are so unkind to one another.

  7. Laerrus

    Criminal district attorney of Austin County, with a Jewish last name; what do you expect?

    Pure evil.

  8. mba2003

    You can encourage the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medicine Examiners by completing their formal complaint form. It is found on their website. You do not have to be a Texas resident or have had your animals treated by "Dr" Lindsey in order to complete the formal complaint form. Comments on their website or their face book page are considered just "comments" and not complaints.

  9. jesskazen

    these same people who think a bolt to the head is okay sit outside of abortion clinics freaking out when doctors remove a clump of cells

  10. Sandra Weber

    I don't think the DA presented this properly to the grand jury. If it had been, there would have been an indictment. How much more evidence could he have wanted!

  11. dsmlstanl

    All of the evidence needed to charge Kristen Lindsey with a crime is on Facebook. A post at 9:46pm was posted that her parents had arrived to visit her at her home and they were having drinks. When the photo of Lindsey holding the dead or dying cat was posted she gladly proclaimed her victory and when posts to her questioned the authenticity of the photo Lindsey's mother Rebecca Lindsey chimed in to say she took the picture and that she and her husband Jack Lindsey were there "and saw it all go down." When approached by law enforcement to investigated the Lindseys claimed the phone used to take the photo and post on Facebook had been "lost." Past blogs of Kristen Lindsey described how she liked to "kill things." Post from 2011 on Facebook showed Lindsey and her friends discussing a humorous event when one of her friends had shot a cat in his garage, they found it very funny how the cat "had flopped around." What evidence? A photo of the crime, an admission by Lindsey of the crime, eye witnesses and several witnesses she was corresponding with at the time on the crime. Some of the people that commented on her actions that day are still employed at Washington Animal Clinic where Lindsey was fired from. All of this is still on Facebook somewhere, as we all know now, once on the internet it's there forever. I have saved all of the things I mentioned above to my pc and I am sure a lot of others have too. She should be prosecuted and lose her veterinary license. She obviously did not take the oath to heart and she certainly doesn't need to be supplied with more innocent, voiceless victims. I know I don't want her caring for my pets. Do you? #justiceforTiger

  12. Beth Lane Lorenz

    Wow.... who to we let know how we feel about this... though I don't live in your area. Texas just a "let kill anything" place??

  13. Judy Rae Jackson

    This entire "investigation" was botched from the very beginning. I live in Texas and I know how small towns work. This was the result that I predicted. It isn't right and it isn't fair.

  14. kim dyer

    The cat in question is clearly Tiger, as the markings are distinctive.

    The whole "unsworn hearsay" blather about "rabies" is ridiculous at best. First, a "rabid" cat would display clear symptoms ... and it's clear this was a healthy, young, friendly cat that was approaching Lindsey. Second, as a vet she knows her duty would be to trap a suspect animal and observe for a period of days. If she did kill a suspect animal it would be her duty to preserve the brain, not damage/destroy it with a head shot. It would also be required by Texas law that she turn the body over to the state for testing. She did not do this. The TVMBE confirmed that to me.

    This DA needs to be prosecuted himself for criminal negligence on his part.

  15. kim dyer

    They are going through the process to revoke her license. It takes months. They have hundreds of complaints about this and a reworking on it.

  16. Vik Mehta

    probably not a lot of comments because people are sick of posting comments and nothing getting done. The DA and the city of Brehman should be ashamed of themselves for not doing a GOD DAMN thing about this sicko.

  17. 5dogs7cats

    There have been several petitions to charge her and take her license, there were demonstrations outside the courthouse, Tigers pet sitter has a facebook page with thousands of posts concerning this. Letters have been sent to the DA, sherrif and AVMA from thousands of people. The place she worked had to take down their website due to everyone calling for her to be fired. (she eventually was) Everyone has been fighting since Kristen Lindsey did this. Sadly, due to a corrupt DA, she was not charged. Facebook page :Justice for Cat Murdered By Kristen Lindsey

  18. Julia A. Adams

    The problem isn't just with Texas and the Grand Jury members are not to
    blame. One of the first things we learned in law school is that the DA
    can "convince the grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, if that's what
    the DA wants to do." Likewise, if the DA only brings a case to the Grand
    Jury because public furor demanded it, s/he can easily manipulate the
    evidence so that the Jurors never see what they need to meet the
    requirement of the law for an indictment. In a small town like Brenham,
    enforcement of the law and prosecution of crimes are always subject to
    the existing relationships between the victim, the perpetrator, and the
    people employed or elected for enforcement. Getting on the wrong side
    of someone who lives close to you, and whose path you cross on a daily
    basis, is not a good idea when you know your job, your social standing,
    and perhaps even your family's personal safety will be put at risk.
    This is a country (yes I mean the whole USA) where anyone and everyone
    can buy all kinds of firearms. Getting on someone's wrong side may mean
    having your own pets shot and killed from a mile away, so the dogs,
    cats, horses and other animals you keep on your own land are at risk.
    The large animals must go out to pasture sooner or later, and can be
    easily shot or poisoned. There is nothing you can do to completely
    shield them.
    On the other hand, if you are a deputy or police
    officer, you are in a position to intimidate people who know you can
    fabricate a reason to arrest them if you choose to do so. In small
    towns, ordinary citizens see the same "cops" over and over again so they
    don't want to aggravate those cops by bringing charges against the
    cops' friends or family. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that
    Kristen Lindsey frequented the same bars or other gathering places
    around Brenham where the District Attorneys and deputies and city police
    officers hang out. Finding the evidence to charge her with a crime
    could make their recreational activities very uncomfortable because the
    kind of person she is undoubtedly has friends who are just as cruel and
    hateful as she is. Taking a position against her will likely put you at odds with those friends, and give them reason to seek vengeance against you.

    Small towns also have limited investigative resources. We
    all tend to believe that every serious crime will be investigated with
    resources comparable to what we see on TV shows like CSI or NCIS. But
    the truth is that many large cities don't have the resources you see in
    those shows, and small town employees are not trained to gather the kind
    of evidence that could be sent to the big city CSI for analysis. I
    fully believe that a prompt and thorough search of Lindsey's home and
    vehicles would have revealed at least some evidence of her heinous
    deed. But such a search would be unlikely from the crime scene
    investigators in Brenham. They could have obtained warrants and orders
    to obtain her computer, phone or whatever electronic devices she owned,
    and to search her home and vehicles for the bow, arrows, blood, fur,
    etc., if they had acted quickly enough. But the mind set was probably
    "hey, it's just a dead cat, like we see in road kill all the time, and
    we know Lindsey is a good old gal we like to drink and party with."

    And even if they had pursued the evidence, the prosecutor could still pick and choose what to present to the Grand Jury.

    Those of us who are law abiding citizens very often don't see how scary it
    can be to be involved in a criminal case until it happens to us. We
    forget that going public with our position or as a witness when we live and work among
    the family or friends of the criminal can expose us to more criminal
    acts by those who want to prevent us from testifying. Most of the
    outraged people who have taken a public stand against Lindsey are living
    far away from Brenham and have no reason to believe they will ever even
    visit Brenham. It's easy for them to speak out adamantly and demand justice, and expect the locals to do a better job. I stand with all of you who believe Lindsey should suffer the most severe punishment available for her cruel acts and I can imagine all kinds of horrible things that she deserves, all the time knowing that I will not and could not justify actually doing those things to her myself. I believe that we who care about animals need to maintain our integrity in the face of adversity, and accept that once again the best justice system on earth still is not good enough to obtain justice in every situation, so that
    we won't be seen as a bunch of crazy, radical, vengeful animal lovers ready to commit violence when things don't go our way. I take comfort in my belief that ultimately we must all face a higher authority than any earthly court, and I picture Lindsey as one of the Nazis in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" who were melted out of existence by our creator's avenging
    Angel at the end of that movie. That is the sort of satisfying punishment that only the highest authority can administer.

  19. carolroars

    I am outraged by the decision of the court! This woman needs to be in jail. If she had done this to my cat, she would need to be very afraid.... very afraid! How dare she take the life of ANY animal like that! She's a disgusting piece of garbage and should be in jail!

  20. Kathryn Smith

    there are some states that do not recognize 'cats' as domestic animals. Some states still do not require rabies vacs for cats, Some states do not mention 'cats' in their 'cruelty' statutes, but limit to animals that could possibly be 'over burdened, over loaded, -- cats were never used for draft work as were dog, bovine and equines. Unfortunately the 'letter' of the law may not be the 'intent' of the law.

  21. Sure It Is

    Then we need to start calling and writing the Texas Attorney General and get this case out of bodunkville and get Lindsay Charged.

  22. Jay

    It may be because Texas holds the record for being the most polluted state in the USA and that points to some pretty poor decisions by your leaders regarding environmental regulations. Seems they will put aside just about anything that interferes with bringing in low paying jobs. We have the same problem here in FL and will be right up there with Texas soon thanks to the idiots running the government.

  23. Jay

    And what is really odd is that dsmlstanl comments above point out that even her parents were involved so apparently they are just one incredibly sick bunch of F**kers! No wonder she is such a sicko.... and really I am believing she became a vet to harm animals under the guise of helping them.

  24. Kelly Walen

    I rescue feral cats as well as being a pit bull advocate. We don't need people like this (hate to call her a human) in this world. I hunt but I don't do it for sport and I don't shoot innocent animals like this. I hunt for food. This "person" and I use the term lightly, is not what we need in the animal welfare world of veterinary medicine. She is nothing more than a wanton murderer sociopath.

  25. MadameMidlifeCrisis

    Wish they didn't delete the answer. I'd like to know what we can do to stop this lunatic. 🙁

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