Criminal Charge Possible in Texas Cat Killing

A misdemeanor or felony could be filed against Dr. Kristen Lindsey under a state animal cruelty law.

The cat that Dr. Kristen Lindsey is accused of killing is believed to be a neighbor’s pet named Tiger.

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The Austin County Sheriff’s Office today concluded its investigation into allegations that Texas veterinarian Kristen Lindsey, DVM, killed a neighbor’s cat with a bow and arrow.

The case was turned over to the county district attorney, who will decide whether to charge Dr. Lindsey with cruelty to nonlivestock animals, the sheriff’s office reported on its Facebook page. The state law allows for a misdemeanor or felony charge to be filed, depending on the circumstances.

Lindsey, 31, ignited an Internet firestorm last week when a photo posted on her now-deleted Facebook page claimed to show a cat she is alleged to have shot in the head with a bow and arrow. An accompanying comment under her name referred to the act as “my first bow kill … lol.”

Besides a criminal charge, Lindsey could face punishment from the American Veterinary Medical Association, of which she is a member.

The 86,000-member organization reported Monday that its disciplinary arm, the Judicial Council, will look into the case. The panel, made up of five members elected by the House of Delegates, is empowered to suspend a veterinarian’s AVMA membership or expel the person due to unethical conduct.

The email address JudicialCouncil@avma.org was set up to accept complaints about Dr. Lindsey and forward them to the Judicial Council.

AVMA contacted Texas veterinary officials after news of the killing spread Friday.

“We are disturbed that this situation undermines the public trust and credibility that veterinarians have earned and so richly deserve,” said  AVMA’s CEO, Ron DeHaven, DVM.

“We hope the alleged isolated actions of one veterinarian will not tarnish the proud reputation earned by thousands who have dedicated their careers to promote the welfare of animals everywhere.”

The rules of the Judicial Council permit the panel to schedule a hearing and invite the alleged wrongdoer and any complainants to testify. The meeting may occur with or without the accused present.

The Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners also is investigating and could strip Lindsey of her license.

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