Veterinarian's bow-and-arrow killing of cat prompts action

Members of the veterinary community, including the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University (CSU), have issued statements of concern and outrage regarding the bow-and-arrow killing of a cat by veterinarian Kristen Lindsey in Texas last week. Some have also taken remedial steps.

The AVMA has set up a special email address to gather complaints: [email protected]. They will forward those complaints to the AVMA Judicial Council, which investigates allegations of unethical conduct of veterinarians. From there, they will take appropriate action, including the potential dismissal of Lindsey from AVMA.

CSU, Lindsey’s alma mater (2012), published a letter to CSU students and colleagues expressing its concern, reported KBTX, “decry[ing] the grotesque actions and comments in [Lindsey’s] post” and confirming its support of student and veterinary professionals who are concerned about animal welfare.

Lindsey’s now-former employer, Washington Animal Clinic in Brenham, Tx., immediately fired Lindsey after they learned of the post last week, KBTX reported.

Alley Cat Allies, a national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, has also offered a $7,500 reward to anyone with evidence leading to the arrest and conviction of the responsible party.

Although neither Washington Animal Clinic nor Lindsey is a member of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), AAHA’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP, perhaps best summed up the veterinary community’s reaction to the incident.

“When I saw this posting on Facebook I was speechless,” said Cavanaugh. “Similar to other organizations, we at AAHA are appalled and saddened by the actions of this veterinarian. Veterinarians have worked very hard to earn the trust of the public and will continue to do so by respecting and celebrating the human-animal bond in our society.

“My hope is this unfortunate act by one individual will not torpedo the efforts of tens of thousands of veterinarians who work tirelessly to do the right thing by their clients and patients every single day.”

This morning, the Austin County Sheriff’s Department completed its investigation, according to its Facebook page. The case has been turned over to the Austin County District Attorney who will file charges against Lindsey under Texas Penal Code 42.092, Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals. In Texas, Lindsey's actions are classified as a state jail felony. 

If convicted, Lindsey could face 180 days to 2 years in a state jail, and up to $10,000 in fines.