A Texas veterinarian who used a bow and arrow to kill Tiger the cat will have her license suspended for one year followed by a four-year probation. One animal welfare group denounced the ruling as a “slap on the wrist.”
The decision, made Tuesday by the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, drew a mixed reaction from animal advocates who argued that Kristen Lindsey should have lost her license and never be allowed to return to practice.
“Only a permanent revocation of Kristen Lindsey’s license is an acceptable ruling given the level of contempt for animals she has demonstrated,” said Misty Christo, Alley Cat Allies’ lead attorney on the case. “She shot Tiger, dangled him by an arrow through his head as he slowly died, and then celebrated the killing on social media with a grisly photo. She clearly broke the public trust we place in veterinarians and should never practice medicine again.”
Christo expressed concern about the prospect of Lindsey regaining her license again one year from now.
“With this ruling, animal owners may soon unknowingly place their animals in the care of a veterinarian who grossly violated her oath to prevent animal suffering” Christo said.
“Needless to say, this is not the result we hoped for,” according to a separate post on Tiger’s Justice Team News Page. “Those of us who are involved in animal welfare issues have seen many victories and many defeats as we strive to create a more humane world. In spite of our disappointment, today’s decision by the Board is truly a victory, especially given current laws. The Board could have chosen lesser sanctions against Lindsey, or even none at all.”
It has been a hard fought battle by animal advocates, including Alley Alley Cat Allies and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, who were represented at the hearing.
“The Animal Legal Defense Fund is deeply disappointed by the Veterinary Board’s decision to only temporarily suspend Kristen Lindsey’s veterinary license,” said Natalia Lima, a spokeswoman for the group. “This slap on the wrist pales in comparison to the egregious felony cruelty that Ms. Lindsey committed against a defenseless cat.”
Along with the gruesome Facebook posting, Lindsey made this comment on her Facebook page: “My first bow kill, lol. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it’s (sic) head! Vet of the year award… gladly accepted.” She was subsequently fired from her position at the Washington Animal Clinic in Brenham, Texas.
The case has received national media coverage and became a flashpoint for animal welfare advocates who were outraged that a veterinarian would kill a cat with a bow and arrow and brag about it afterwards.
Animal lovers can take comfort in knowing their voices were heard. “Things will never be the same for animal abuser Kristen Lindsey,” according to the post on Tiger’s Justice Team News Page. “And things will never be the same for the agencies responsible for enforcing animal cruelty laws. The power of public opinion is becoming a juggernaut, and we are getting stronger by the day. The message is to keep fighting.”
If you want to read more about Tiger’s case and expected appeals to the ruling, you can visit Tiger’s Justice Team News Page. Board members also heard testimony from Tiger’s owners.
Lindsey’s lawyer, Brian Bishop, told the board that Lindsey believed the cat was feral, according to CBS News, and that it isn’t unusual for people near her rural home west of Houston to kill feral animals. Bishop agreed that Linsey shouldn’t have posted the offensive image on Facebook in April 2015, but insisted that she didn’t act with “criminal recklessness,” according to the CBS News report.