It’s hard to know what Texas veterinarian Kristen Lindsey was thinking when she shot a feral cat with a bow and took a picture posing with the deceased animal.
Wait, no it’s not: She posted the photo of the cat with an arrow through his head on her Facebook page, with the caption, “My first bow kill, lol. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through its head! Vet of the year award … gladly accepted.”
And then, as outraged comments began piling up, she brushed off concerns in a follow up:
“No I did not lose my job. Lol. Psshh. Like someone would get rid of me. I’m awesome!”
That Facebook page is now gone. So is Kristen Lindsey, veterinarian and feral cat murderer. She was fired from her job at Washington Animal Clinic in short order, as soon as her bosses were made aware of the killing, thanks to the intense outrage her post spawned. Washington Animal Clinic posted a note informing the public of its actions on its Facebook page:
Dear friends, clients and other interested folks. We just learned of the conduct that is discussed below. We are absolutely appalled, shocked, upset and disgusted by the conduct. We have parted ways with Ms. Lindsey. We do not allow such conduct and we condemn it in the strongest possible manner. Please know that when informed of this we responded swiftly and appropriately and please do not impute this awful conduct to the Washington Animal Clinic or any of its personnel.
Lindsey is also facing the justice system. KBTX says that she could face charges, reporting that the Austin County Sheriff’s Office has “a number of deputies assigned solely to this case” and will probably turn it over to the district attorney.
Before those charges come, however, Austin County Sheriff Jack Brandes said he has to first determine the authenticity of the picture.
“I’ve had people calling me from all over the country expressing their concern,” Brandes told KBTX. “I just want everybody to know several things. We can’t arrest and charge someone like that based on a picture on the Internet. We have to make sure that is true and correct. Anybody can take a computer and alter a photograph. All these people are jumping up and down, they want action. The wheels of justice turn slow. You want to be sure once you accuse and arrest someone.”
Evidence, though, is all around this case. In the Facebook comments where Lindsey posted the picture, her mom admits to taking the picture of her daughter holding the dead cat, also writing:
“She was practicing in the yard. Jack and I were watching and saw it all go down!”
“This kind of stuff shouldn’t happen in our society,” Sheriff Brandes told KBTX. “It’s a very sad thing. Hopefully we will get to the bottom of it and get the truth, 100 percent truth, and get it to the DA and put it in his hands if it needs to go any further.”
Shockingly, in the midst of the outrage, Lindsey’s supporters showed up to Washington Animal Clinic, according to KBTX.
“She’s amazing. She’s caring,” said Shannon Stoddard, who showed up with balloons and a thank you note. “She’s a good vet, so maybe her bad choice of posting something on Facebook was not good. But I don’t think she should be judged for it.”
Another supporter, Preston Northrup, said, “All these people in the cities just don’t understand what goes on in the country and they get in an uproar. They ought to just mind their own business.”
The Texas Veterinary Medical Association, however, is not minding its own business. It has also entered the fray, expressing its outrage and releasing a statement addressing the post.
This individual’s actions directly violate the veterinarian’s oath taken to use his or her “scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health and the advancement of medical knowledge.” We are saddened and disturbed by the unfortunate actions of this individual, and we remind Texas residents that this conduct is not reflective of the veterinary profession or of the veterinarians who strive to embody the words of the veterinarian’s oath every day.
The school where Lindsey earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine is not keeping silent, either. The dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University released a letter as well, stating that the school joins others in decrying “the grotesque actions and comments displayed in that post,” and states that, “We trust that the Austin County Sheriff’s Office will continue its investigation of the case, and that it will be appropriately adjudicated through … the law-enforcement system and the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.”
There were early reports that the feral cat was a foster cat named Tiger from True Blue Animal Rescue, but the rescue recently posted a note on its Facebook page saying the cat had similar markings, but was not the same cat. The rescue organization says the killed cat has no relationship with the group, despite what some are reporting.
The group is, however, using the events to step up education efforts:
In light of what happened this past week, TBAR plans on increasing our efforts for education on feral/stray/roaming cats, and we also intend on opening dialogue with local veterinarian offices. We want our community to know there are humane options for dealing with cats that are being a nuisance, and we will continue to help with manpower and funding for trap-neuter-release programs.
You can follow along with updates on the case at the Justice for Cat Murdered By Kristen Lindsey Facebook page.
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