Best Friends Blog
 

Grand jury’s refusal to prosecute: A lack of compassion for cats

All cats' lives matterChances are if you even dabble in social media, you’ve read about the case of Texas veterinarian Kristen Lindsey. A wildly disturbing photo of Lindsey quickly made the rounds, showing the young woman holding up a cat with an arrow through his head. The caption on the photo made it clear who wanted credit for the kill — Lindsey herself.

My first bow kill, LOL. The only good tomcat is one with an arrow through its head. The vet of the year award, gladly accepted.”

For obvious reasons, we won’t be sharing the photo here. It was beyond grotesque — the kind of chilling photo that stays with you long after you see it. How can a human being (and a veterinarian to boot) commit such a cruel act? While the woman believed she killed a feral cat, Internet sleuths quickly made the connection to a missing owned cat named Tiger from the same area. Regardless, such disregard for life should not go unpunished.

The social media backlash was swift, which is what usually happens in these cases. Calls for her to be fired came from around the world, and her employer agreed. Lindsey was dismissed. The clinic in Texas immediately denounced the act and distanced itself from the former employee. The next step for the (rightfully) angry online mob was to see Lindsey prosecuted for cruelty. The evidence was so plainly obvious that it seemed like a slam dunk. But not so fast! Just this week, a Texas grand jury declined to indict her on animal cruelty charges.

The three main points for the grand jury’s decision are bizarre and defy logic for even the most casual observer of the case. The grand jury said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that it was impossible to determine if the killing actually took place in Texas; that the identity of the cat could not be corroborated; and (maybe the most disturbing aspect of the case) that shooting a cat with an arrow might not be cruel since it’s impossible to know if the cat suffered.

Whether or not the cat was actually Tiger, the missing cat from the neighborhood, should be entirely irrelevant. A cat is a cat, and which cat this was should hardly matter. Shooting any cat (feral or otherwise) with an arrow and gloating about it is barbaric and should always be considered animal cruelty. And while we can hope that the cat shot with the arrow didn’t suffer, the fact that the cat was killed without cause should have been all that the grand jury needed.

There are so many wonderful things happening for animals around the U.S. Just this week, San Diego, the eighth largest city in the country, declared its intent to go no-kill. Following in the footsteps of other municipalities around the country (including L.A., where Best Friends leads the NKLA initiative), this is great news for the animals, indeed. But Kristen Lindsey’s case is a stark reminder that we have, in so many ways, a long way to go in how we relate to animals as a society.

Next up, according to media reports, is a Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (TBVME) review for Lindsey, in which the board will determine if she can keep her veterinary license. Here’s hoping that the TBVME sees this incident for what it was — a senseless killing that shouldn’t be glossed over, especially when it’s committed by someone who should be protecting our pets and other animals.

Please consider heading over to the TBVME Facebook page and leaving a comment. Politely let them know that you don’t believe someone with a history like Lindsey should be charged with caring for pets. We can only hope some pressure on the TBVME causes the board to do the right thing by taking away the license of someone who has an obvious track record of being so callous toward animals.

Love reading the Best Friends Blog? Make sure you never miss a post by clicking here to subscribe and receive every post right in your inbox.

Francis Battista
Co-founder
Best Friends Animal Society
Francis

  • Melissa Pewitt

    This is sad news. Surely, people will not think about taking their pets to her for help!

  • reneeroseh

    Apparently, this felony isn’t a big deal enough to watse the D.A’s precious time. He was probably thinking what he was going to order for lunch that day instead of nailing Kristen to the wall.

  • jmuhj

    I advocate for capital punishment for anyone harming ANY cat, as was law in a much more enlightened society than this one, namely, ancient Egypt.

    And I have posted to the TBVME’s facebook page.

  • georgieboy

    Horribly unbeliveable! What kind of creed do Vets follow, or do they even have a creed such as physicians “Do no harm”? What a sick individual. She will be blacklisted I bet, so she better find a new career. Maybe she could go work for IS.

  • Eryn

    Thank you Francis for letting us know how to raise our voice for this innocent cat life lost. I posted my comments with the TBVME.

  • Rhet Oric

    Her license should be revoked. She should be charged with animal cruelty. She should serve time, she should pay a significant fine, and her mother should, too, for being complicit in this crime. Kristen Lindsey is a disgusting human being, and her behavior and thoughts regarding her actions are sociopathic. The Texas logic that failed to indict her is equally repulsive, but not surprising given the mentality of so many lawmakers and politicians in that state.

  • kim dyer

    In a letter written to the TVMBE her attorney SAID that the cat was killed on Ms. Lindsey’s residential property. That was plenty of evidence right there that it happened in Texas.

    The whole “unattributed, unsworn hearsay” bit about “rabid” was a complete farce. Tiger was young, healthy, friendly and vaccinated. He was facing her. Obvious to even a casual observer he was healthy. But, even if he had not been healthy the vet would BY LAW be required to preserve the brain and sent the body in for testing if she suspected rabies. She didn’t submit the body to the state for testing.

  • catdog8

    i wonder how many of her patients found other vets? thats one way to get justice

  • Nancy

    I sent my thoughts to the TBVME regarding KL. ets get as many people as possible to voice their feelings.

  • JudyWucherer

    Inexplicable logic. Sounds like they are dodging the obvious decision – she is GUILTY!

  • loulou

    This animal doctor needs to be procecuted. Oh, if ig was done to a buman i bet there would be a sentdnce. How did this judge make it this far. The is absolutely a devestating situation.
    Mr. JUDGE THINK THIS OVER, it has kept many awake ag night. I guess u do not have a heart.

  • Joan

    Go to the TVBME Facebook page and voice your concerns. I did.

  • kim dyer

    Lindsey’s attorney ACKNOWLEDGED the cat was shot on her property in a letter to the Texas Veterinary Medical Board of Examiners.

    The cat is EASILY identifiable as Tiger due to his distinctive markings

    The cat CLEARLY suffered, and the American Veterinary Medical Association expressed it’s displeasure in being cited without being contacted regarding this incident. They made it clear in their statement that they do NOT approve of this method of killing animals. In fact, there are documented cases of cats RECOVERING after being shot in the head with an arrow.

    There was “unsworn hearsay” presented regarding “well, she thought it might be rabid”. If that were true then they have a DIFFERENT illegal action to investigate. As a veterinarian, it would have been Lindsey’s duty to preserve the brain of the suspected animal. She would also have been legally required to turn the body over for testing by the state. She didn’t do that.

  • Artemis Grey

    I’ll say that the grand jury’s decision, mind you, came directly from the evidence (or lack of it) that was presented to them by the DA’s office. It is the DA’s office which failed to gather the necessary evidence. In their own statement, the DA cited the AVMA’s guidelines on humane euthanasia in regard to ‘captive bolts’ saying that the AVMA declared that bolts ‘could be’ a humane form of euthanasia, even though an arrow is nothing like a captive bolt. So the DA is even more to blame than the grand jury, who could only utilize the facts presented to them.

    I’ve been involved with this case from the very beginning, and have written letters to both the DA and the TBVME, as well as lodging a formal complaint against Lindsay and then following up with a comment in response to her official statement. She claims to have violated no Board rule, because she wasn’t acting as a vet at the time of the killing. I argued that if she wasn’t acting as a vet, then why did she believe, in her own words, that she was eligible for the ‘vet of the year award’? In her own mind, she was, quite obviously, acting with the authority of and in the capacity of a veterinarian.

  • Dorothy Michel

    “The sociopathic personality first develops in early childhood or adolescence and is classified under the diagnosis of “conduct disorder,” which then develops into “anti-social personality disorder” (both of these are listed in the DSM). One of the early signs of a conduct disorder is often cruelty to animals.

    An individual who is able to engage in cruelty to animals appears to have no conscience and thus no remorse for his or her behavior. The act of cruelty to animals results from an apparent need for power and control, and this need is accompanied by a lack of empathy. Animals are targeted, especially helpless and defenseless ones, because the perpetrator does not recognize or care that they have feelings and can experience not just physical pain but also emotional pain” Dawn Drucker, PETA supporter and psychotherapist

  • Dee Gilbert

    She doesnt belong anywhere near any animal whatsoever, never mind “treating” them…suspend her license and keep her away from all potential victims of abuse and torture at her hands.

  • Corlyss

    Well, gosh, it is Texas. Animal life in the rural west is not taken seriously. In my own area, people give their kids little .22s to go “plinking,” with the cats and kittens as targets. There’s an overabundance of feral cats often spawned by house pets that people “drop off” in open fields when they don’t want them any more. Animal abuse and neglect is common. The problem is immense.

  • Carol Sumilas Boshears

    sociopath

  • Patsy Davis

    Done — I don’t want her to EVER practice veterinary medicine in Texas again.

  • Janey04090

    If this happened in another state other than Texas I wonder if the Grand Jury would have reached the same verdict………
    I want Kristen to pay for killing this beautiful kitty, pay with a life of service to animals……

  • Sheila Dickman

    She would have had to be pretty close to the cat to achieve such accuracy, and be staring directly into the cat’s facial area. So was the cat not sensing fear? Why not? Lindsey had so many other options. Getting a bow and arrow was first and foremost in her mind? Such an intensely wrong chain of decisions made by Lindsey, who ironically was educated to respond properly, under stress. She must hang her head in shame, and this time, make the right decision. Linsey, surrender your bow and your Veterinary License.

    • kim dyer

      She also used a target arrow, not a hunting one.

  • Dash

    What kind of veterinarian is that? Nobody I would want as my veterinarian. She truly lacks compassion and must have a hatred of us cats.

  • dsmlstanl

    This evidence was more than sufficient. There was a photo of the crime and an admission. Comments from Lindsey’s mother Rebecca Lindsey confirmed the photo’s authenticity by stating that she took the photo and that she and Lindsey’s father Jack had “seen it all go down.” The phone used to take the photo and post to FB was said to be “lost”. Rather conveniently I would say. Also during this time Lindsey was corresponding with others (some who still work at the clinic she was fired from). How did the DA get lack of evidence from: A photo of the crime, an admission of the crime, witnesses to the crime (Jack and Rebecca Lindsey) several people Lindsey worked with and other “friends” on FB. The only thing lacking is Tiger himself walking in with the arrow in his head and giving a verbal account of what Kristen Lindsey did to him. I don’t mean to sound so glib but I am so angry and frustrated like so many others that no kind of justice has been handed down for Tiger. It was later discovered that Tiger had at one time been a patient at Washington Animal Clinic where Lindsey worked. She would have known he wasn’t a stray and he wasn’t rabid. She can candy coat it all she wants but the fact is, she stalked and killed a tame domestic pet cat that was likely only looking for a pat on the head or a tasty treat. He wasn’t a feral, he thought humans were kind so I’m sure he willingly approached her as she took aim with the crossbow and shot an arrow through his head. I can still see the picture clearly in my head even though it has been almost three months. If people can’t understand that Lindsey took an oath that obviously meant nothing to her and spat on that oath when she planned and executed an innocent, voiceless victim then it’s too late for this world anyway. She needs to be prosecuted to the fullest, pay restitution to Tiger’s owners and most importantly lose her vet’s license. She can not be allowed to abuse and kill again.

  • Chame1111

    Did Kristen Lindsey say in her post that she shot this cat in her yard? The Grand Jury could not prove that the cat was killed in Texas? Just how dumb was the Grand Jury? The proof was in the post.

    • Savannah Ballesteros

      Yes to both

    • kim dyer

      The grand jury was not presented the information. The DA lied and misled them.

  • Merri

    How is this possible ?? She is an EVIL BEAST” The judge must also be an evil beast and enjoyed what she did. THIS IS SO WRONG !!!!