Kristen Lindsey Hasn't Lost Her License but She Might


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Dr. Kristen Lindsey, the Texas-based veterinarian whose name traveled around the World Wide Web faster than the arrow she shot into a cat was recently denied a partial retrial. In June, Lindsey’s lawyer filed a motion for a partial new trial,

Dr. William Folger, well respected feline specialist, and feline regent for the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners was called to discuss the markings on the cat in questions, and agreed that the cat Lindsey shot felt pain  (in court, cats are considered property legally, so demonstrating they have feelings, and suffer pain is important). Folger testified that he believed the cat that Lindsey shot with the arrow was still alive when Lindsey posed for the photo (which appeared on her own Facebook page), based on the positioning of picture. Lindsey has maintained in her testimony that the cat died instantly.

The original act goes back to April 17, 2015 when Lindsey posted an image on her Facebook page of a cat she boasted shooting with an arrow through this head; the story made international news headlines. Accompanying the image Lindsey 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.”

Instantly cat lovers and even veterinary colleagues participated in an outcry, many calling for her losing her license in Texas, as well to charge her with animal cruelty.

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 and other organized veterinary groups as well as a myriad of animal welfare agencies, including Alley Cat Allies and the Humane Society of the United States, 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, in Texas, Lindsey was not charged with any crime.

However, the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (TBVME) felt it had enough evidence to find Lindsey in violation of the Veterinary Licensing Act and Board Rules and moved to revoke her license.

Lindsey’s initial hearing was to be held March 8 through 10; through her lawyer Lindsey requested a mediation session first. The attempt to resolve the case in mediation was unsuccessful

On July 18, the administrative law judges assigned to the case denied Lindsey’s motion, stating that she had failed to show good cause to grant the motion and that the motion for the partial new trial was premature.

The TBVME’s response to Lindsey’s motion called it an “eleventh-hour attempt to discredit a highly reliable, informative expert witness,” according to court documents. The Board asserted that Lindsey’s motion didn’t meet the required elements to reopen evidence, that she hadn’t shown good cause for partial new trial and that there was no basis to strike Folger’s expert testimony. The TBVME asked that the motion be denied by the administrative law judges overseeing the case.

According to dvm360,  TBVME ‘s suggested is that administrative law judge’s proposal for decision could be considered and voted on at the next TBVME board meeting on October 18, 2016. However, the board expects the case will not be heard until the full Board Meeting on January 24, 2017.

My personal view: The defense that the cat shot by Lindsey was feral (which apparently may be untrue) or died instantly (also apparently untrue) is irrelevant. A cat, feral or not, is still Felis catus, which is a domestic cat (by species name). Shooting with an arrow or gun any domestic animal should be illegal and is unethical (unless the only explanation is to prevent attack of someone else or in self defense). While I understand that legally cats and dogs are considered mere property, everyone knows they represent more than that if they are owned pets. And cats and dogs feel pain just as we do. Even if unowned, they have value in our society. It’s beyond me as to why Lindsey wasn’t charged with animal cruelty, which I think would have happened in any other state other than Texas where somehow shooting feral cats is considered an acceptable standard. Then, what is the lesson we are teaching our children regarding the value of life?  It’s not acceptable. I don’t comprehend how there can be any doubt that what Lindsey did is in contradiction of her veterinary oath, and even worse is how she seemed to celebrate the cat’s death.

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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