Former veterinarian Kristen Lindsey, of Brenham, TX, will not face charges in the case associated with the photo above, it was announced today.
An Austin County Grand Jury declined to indict Lindsey for animal cruelty, to the disappointment of advocates who stood outside the courthouse.
Lindsey was employed as a veterinarian with the Washington Animal Clinic two months ago when she killed a cat with a bow and arrow, posted and bragged about it at Facebook, and joked that she deserved an award.
She posted a photo of herself holding the cat she had just killed like a trophy, with the caption: “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.”
Once the photo appeared at Facebook, outrage quickly spread as it was seen by horrified animal lovers and others who felt it was completely inappropriate for someone in her position.
As the post went viral, Brenham, Texas Police Department, Washington County Animal Control and Lindsey’s employer were all flooded with calls.
As the post went viral, widespread outrage followed and the Brenham Police Department, Washington County Animal Control and Lindsey’s employer were all flooded with calls. An animal cruelty investigation was opened in the the killing.
The Washington Animal Clinic immediately fired her and issued a statement expressing complete disapproval of her actions.
Rather than being feral, the cat is believed to be Tiger, an orange tabby house cat who went missing around the same time as the Facebook post.
Amy Hemsell knew Tiger well and was his was petsitter for three years. She is shocked by the grand jury’s decision not to charge Lindsey.
“He loved everybody, he loved everything. He always greeted me, he was my protector out on the farm,” Hemsell is quoted saying by KBTX.
“We were in disbelief you know we weren’t sure what more evidence that they needed,” she said.
“Why would you do that to a helpless innocent cat?,” asked advocate RubyBurney.
“I was a federal agent 32 years in law enforcement and I know that serial killers start with animals,” Lynne Jennings, Director of K-9 Airlift told KBTX.
Austin County District Attorney Travis Koehn says there was not enough evidence to prove several points in the case. His office issued a statement (posted in full below Tiger’s photo) that explains in detail how it could not be proved that the cat was killed in a cruel manner, and why the evidence was not sufficient.
Despite the great disappointment felt by advocates and those seeking justice for Tiger, the case has rallied support for the cause of justice for animals.
Gisele Flanigan, of True Blue Animal Rescue, said: “The movement on animal abuse is growing and it can’t be denied and so with Tiger’s death it has brought much awareness, much needed awareness.”
Those hoping to see punishment for the killer and justice for the murdered cat have gathered at the Justice for Cat Murdered By Kristen Lindsey Facebook page since the incident. The page remains active and has several timely posts about the court’s decision in the case.
For more, see our earlier post from April 17: Texas veterinarian is fired after killing cat and boasting at Facebook.
The Austin County DA’s Office issued this statement today announcing and explaining the decision not to charge Lindsey:
The investigation of Kristen Lindsey for charges of Animal Cruelty was presented to the Austin County Grand Jury on June 24, 2015. The Grand Jury returned a “No Bill” in this case. A finding of “No Bill” indicates the Grand Jury examined all the evidence and determined there was insufficient proof to charge Kristen Lindsey with a crime.
The Brenham Police Department initially referred the case to the Austin County Sheriff’s Office based upon one unsworn hearsay report that Lindsey may have acted to protect her pets from a potentially rabid stray cat in Austin County. After a thorough investigation, Sheriff’s Office investigators were unable to confirm where or when the incident took place. Without this information, officers lacked probable cause to obtain a search warrant for any Austin County properties in this matter.
It is a defense to an Animal Cruelty charge if a person is protecting his or her own pets from an attack.
Although evidence is insufficient that an offense occurred here, both Austin and Washington counties are suffering from an outbreak of rabies cases, and at least one local resident is currently undergoing treatment after contact with a rabid animal. Residents are encouraged to vaccinate all pets.
Subpoenas to Facebook failed to produce useable evidence, as the account was deleted the same day law enforcement became aware of the matter. Without more information, the State lacks proof that this incident even occurred in the state of Texas. ln some jurisdictions of the United States, hunting stray cats is expressly permitted. In the state of Wyoming, for example, citizens are permitted to hunt stray cats all year with very little restriction. [W.S. 23-1-101(a XviiiXA); W.S. 23-3-103].
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.
First, 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. (A.V.M.A. 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. (A.V.M.A. 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.
Second, 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.
The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has the sole decision-making authority as to whether Kristen Lindsey retains her veterinary license. The Austin County District Attorney is not involved in that decision.
Animal Cruelty is a disgusting and reprehensible act that the Austin County District Attorney’s Office strongly condemns. Contrary to some reports, this office has prosecuted and convicted Animal Cruelty
offenders in the past. However, the duty of this office, and the duty of the Grand Jury is to make decisions based on the law and evidence in each individual case.
The Austin County District Attorney’s office appreciates the hard work done by the Sheriff’s Office and the diligent service of the members of the Grand Jury and their careful review of the evidence. No further criminal action will be taken in this matter.
8 thoughts on “Former Texas vet who killed cat with arrow will not be charged”
And you call yourself a Vet…I hope Karma happens to you!
This individual will feel it!
She is sick and degenerate. I wouldn’t take a snake to her much less any other animal. Wish she could feel the pain she has inflicted on this helpless cat and also others for all we know.
How about showing reverence for ALL LIFE!
Would like to add that the local business where these cats live appreciate the cats being around too. They keep the rodents out and bugs down.