After bow-shooting a cat in 2015, Kristen Lindsey faces her peers at administrative hearing to determine the fate of her license
Kristen Lindsey, DVM, the Texas veterinarian notorious for killing a cat with a bow and arrow and then bragging about it on Facebook, will appear before an administrative law judge March 8-10. The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (TBVME) will determine whether her license will be revoked, according to court documents.
In April 2015, Lindsey posted a photo to her Facebook page that showed her holding an orange and white cat that had been shot through the head with a bow and arrow, with the statement, “My first bow kill … lol,” the post read. “The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it's [sic] head! Vet of the year award … gladly accepted.”
Public outcry ensued, but the Austin County Grand Jury found insufficient evidence to prosecute Lindsey on criminal animal cruelty charges. Investigators with the Austin County Sheriff’s Office were unable to determine where and when the killing took place, or the identity of the cat in the photo, although Lindsey’s neighbors believed it to be their outdoor cat, Tiger. However, the TBVME—working under administrative law, not criminal law—had enough evidence to find Lindsey in violation of the Veterinary Licensing Act and the Board’s rules and moved to revoke her license.
Lindsey denied the Board’s allegations against her, saying in an October affidavit that she believed the cat was rabid and a threat to her animals, “given the existing and extensive rabies outbreak in Washington and Austin Counties.” However, her defense going forward is uncertain as in a deposition Feb. 9 Lindsey contradicted her original defense that the cat was rabid. The following is an excerpt from that deposition:
Question: The time you killed the cat, did you think it had rabies?
Question: Do you think now that the cat had rabies?
Lindsey: I don’t know.
Question: Tell me a little bit about your educational background with rabies.
Lindsey: My educational background with rabies, for one, what we learned in school, which is consistent with what everyone learns in school. And secondly, that which I learned working for Washington Animal Clinic, which is that Washington County and Austin County have very high rabies rates, one of the highest incidence as far as counties occur in the state, as far as I know, that is why Washington County requires a one-year annual rabies vaccination as opposed to a three-year rabies vaccination, which would be appropriate in other areas such as Wyoming.
Question: But you didn’t believe that this cat was rabid?
Lindsey: Not necessarily, no.
Question: So you didn't submit this animal for testing?
Question: Did you take any precautions related to rabies with this cat?
Lindsey: I wear gloves when I dispose of them.
Question: Why did you wear gloves?
Lindsey: Because he was a foul-smelling animal infested with fleas.
Question: Did you wear gloves because you thought the cat was rabid?
Lindsey contends in the affidavit that the cat’s death was instantaneous and did not cause any unwarranted suffering, and that the Board doesn’t have the authority to revoke her license in this instance, because the act was not committed while practicing veterinary medicine, instead it was “within a generally accepted and otherwise lawful form of conduct occurring solely for the purpose of wildlife management or wildlife or depredation control.”
She also counter claimed that the Board’s prosecution is influenced by the public outrage surrounding the case and is “frivolous, unreasonable and without foundation.” She sought to recover her legal expenses, should the administrative law judge dismiss the case or find in her favor.
The administrative law judge overseeing the case disagreed and motioned for the hearing to be held.
The Board has filed a motion to exclude testimony from several of the witnesses Lindsey submitted for the March hearing because they believe she has designated experts to, “opine on subjects in which they are unqualified, and on subjects which are irrelevant to the present case.”
The TBVME had received voluminous feedback in regards to Lindsey’s case, including more than 700 formal complaints, as well as written comments from all 50 states and 77 countries, and more than 27,000 emails regarding the respondent’s actions.