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Disgraced Veterinarian Killed Neighbor’s Cat With a Bow — Was Her Punishment Too Lenient?

When it comes to caring for animals, the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has determined that Kristen Lindsey isn’t living up to her training.

The board has suspended the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences graduate’s license to practice veterinary medicine for a year, along with four years of probation. This stems from an incident in 2015, when Lindsey killed a cat with a bow and arrow, believing it to be feral, then posted an image of her kill on Facebook. The cat, named “Tiger,” actually belonged to Lindsey’s neighbors and had wandered into the former veterinarian’s property.

“My first bow kill lol,” Lindsey wrote under the picture of her hoisting Tiger’s dead body by the arrow she had shot through its head. “The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it’s (sic) head! Vet of the year award… gladly accepted.”

Lindsey would not be receiving any awards for her work, however. In fact, she was subsequently dismissed from her job at an animal clinic in Brenham.

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While criminal charges were initially considered, according to USA Today, in the state capital of Austin, about 90 miles west of Lindsey’s home, a grand jury found that there was not enough evidence to proceed with a viable case.

The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, unbeholden to the same requirements, censured Lindsey after its own professional investigation had finished this year.

USA Today reported that Lindsey’s coworkers had overheard her talking with her landlord about “taking care of the cat” before the incident.

“What I understood him to mean was for Kristen to shoot the cat,” Karen Chapman told the news outlet. “People do that all the time in Washington County.”

Brian Bishop, Lindsey’s lawyer, has stood behind his client, defending the shooting as a protective measure, as Lindsey’s intent was to rid her property of feral, and possibly harmful, cats.

But along with inciting the outrage of millions across the internet, animal rights groups have spoken out against the woman’s seemingly light punishment.

“The Animal Legal Defense Fund is deeply disappointed by the Veterinary Board’s decision to only temporarily suspend Kristen Lindsey’s veterinary license. This slap on the wrist pales in comparison to the egregious felony cruelty that Ms. Lindsey committed against a defenseless cat,” wrote the ALDF’s Natalia Lima on Oct. 16. “Allowing Ms. Lindsey to continue to practice veterinary medicine in the future puts animals in the community at great risk, and taints the good name of the trusted veterinary profession.”

Upon Texas’ State Office of Administrative Hearings’ recommendation, along with a year-long suspension and four years of probation, Lindsey will be attending continuing education classes and be required to perform 100 hours of community service.

Lindsey has accepted the reprimand, but her case may be far from over, though. In a letter to Austin County District Attorney Travis J. Koehn on Nov. 11, 2016, the ALDF requested the criminal charges against Lindsey be pursued once again, “based on new evidence uncovered during the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiner’s hearings.”

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According to ALDF lawyer David Rosengard, “[Lindsey’s] understanding of how to deal with stray cats failed to comply with Texas law, failed to comply with the standards of veterinary practice here in the state of Texas, and that is, of course, her responsibility that she has to live up to.”

The Animal Rescue Site will follow up on Lindsey’s case as it progresses. In the meantime, we can concentrate on other animal issues that desperately need help.

At the Special Pals Shelter in Houston, Tex., financial obstacles are keeping the facility from meeting its adoption goals. Certain features at Special Pets need to be improved for the increased mental health of the animals in their care. The dogs at the shelter spend most of their times in kennels, which means they don’t get much time to run and play, and spend much of their time stressed out. And the only space for cats is in the lobby of the shelter, where their cages line the walls.

Special Pals is limited by their current facilities, but they also know that adoption rates spike by as much as 25 percent when animals have dedicated outside areas. Click the button below to help this shelter extend second chances to even more animals than before.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee. Find more about Matthew on his personal website.