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“I would do it all again.”

Dr. William Folger doesn’t regret testifying against cat-killing vet, Kristen Lindsey

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William Folger, DVM, MS, Dipl. ABVP, was at a physician’s office in Houston when he began to receive emails about a Texas veterinarian who had used a bow and arrow to kill a cat outside her rural home.

“My first bow kill, lol,” Kristen Lindsey, DVM, wrote on her Facebook page in April 2015, illustrating the soon-to-be-viral post with a photo of the impaled animal. “The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it’s [sic] head. Vet of the year award … gladly accepted.”

Like many veterinarians, Dr. Folger took to social media to comment on the killing. On his practice blog he wrote: “This reminded me of the scene of Hannibal Lecter stringing up the disemboweled police officer in ‘Silence of the Lambs.’ Had her friend down the street, not a veterinarian, done the same thing we would have recommended psychological counseling.”

Months later, after authorities declined to pursue criminal charges and the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners moved to revoke Dr. Lindsey’s license, Folger was plunged deeper into the case. When Lindsey appealed the board’s action, Folger was asked to participate as an expert witness at the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

Folger, president of the Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics, said “yes” with the caveat that his opinions would be based on available evidence and that he would not be swayed by attorneys on either side.

Jumping into the fray was a decision Folger said he would make again, despite the backlash he received from some veterinary professionals and the questioning he faced from Lindsey’s attorney, Brian Bishop.

“What a learning experience it was, not so much about cats as about individuals in my own profession and social media,” Folger said.

Part of Bishop’s strategy was to discredit Folger as biased because of the veterinarian’s blog and social media posts.

Folger’s testimony made headlines, especially his declaration that the cat, Tiger, was alive when the infamous Facebook photo, which showed Lindsey smiling from ear to ear, was taken. Folger, in a comment posted on the Veterinary Information Network website shortly after word of the killing went public, said Lindsey had made “a perfect kill shot.” That certainty changed when he pored over the evidence.

“The postmortem changes had not yet occurred,” he said of what he later saw in the Facebook photo. “A right foreleg was pronated [turned inward] and the forearms were up too high for the cat to be deceased. I knew this and spoke to an internationally renowned expert in veterinary forensics prior to the administrative hearing. It was not possible that the cat was dead.”

Lindsey’s attorney accused Folger of flip-flopping.

 

“I did not contradict myself,” Folger said. “For starters, my initial comments [in various forums] suggested what I believe now—it’s hard to imagine a kill shot from 20 yards away. I spoke to experts who say they could never hit a precise target at that range, and Lindsey conceded she was a novice [archer].

“I never initially commented or even thought whether the cat in the picture was still living or not until I was asked to comment on that specifically under oath at the administrative hearing.”

Some veterinarians ridiculed Folger.

“I was hurt when my own colleagues, veterinary professionals, criticized me in social platforms based on reports they saw or something someone might have heard, but not on any real evidence,” he said. “Accusations were made about me which were simply untrue.”

One accusation was that Folger was paid a lot of money to support a point of view.

“No, I was not paid,” he said. “I worked hard, did the best I could, and that took a lot of my time.”

“I would do it all again,” he added. “But I sure wouldn’t post anything in social media about the case or even read what others post about me again.”

Folger, founding chair of the American Association of Feline Practitioners Welfare Committee, is not an opponent of hunting. Lindsey’s case, he said, was not about wildlife. It was about a cat that evidence revealed was a neighbor’s pet.

“I am not condemning all of the Texans who hunt birds or deer,” he said. “It’s not the same, and for those of us who cannot tell the difference, I’m not sure what to say. … I hope this young veterinarian goes far, far away from Texas. She has shamed herself, violated her oath, tarnished the image of all Texans and veterinarians. I am confident the legal process will sort this out effectively.”

The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners ruled October 18 that Lindsey’s license would be suspended for one year and that she would have to serve four years’ probation and complete animal-welfare training. While her attorney promised an appeal, the veterinary board chose the punishment recommended by the administrative judges.

“I wasn’t surprised by the decision given the spiritual nature, grace and forgiveness expressed by Tiger’s owners,” Folger said.

Owner Claire Johnson testified that she didn’t want to be responsible for permanently damaging Lindsey’s career.

The court of public opinion isn’t quite so forgiving, and neither is Folger.

“How can a veterinarian kill a cat, whether it’s owned, feral, unowned or abandoned?” he said. “It doesn’t matter if she thought the cat was feral. This is astounding to me. Killing cats is against the law in Texas.

“I am as shocked today as when I first heard about this,” he said. “I couldn’t believe a colleague could kill a cat in an inhumane, barbaric and cruel manner. It’s beyond my comprehension.”

Reaction to Board’s Decision

The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners in October suspended Dr. Kristen Lindsey’s license for one year and added four years of probation. An appeal is likely.

Brian Bishop (Dr. Kristen Lindsey’s attorney) 

“Dr. Lindsey and I are disappointed that the board ordered suspension of Dr. Lindsey’s license based on an action that had nothing to do with the practice of veterinary medicine. We are also disappointed that the board has, for all intents and purposes, chosen to take sides in the culture war between the animal rescue zealots, who have campaigned to destroy Dr. Lindsey and her family, versus rural property owners who have the right to protect their property and their own animals from feral animals who are destroying their property and threatening their own animals.

“Dr. Lindsey did what she did to protect her property and her own cat from an animal that was trespassing on her property, damaging her property and endangering her domestic cat and her horse. It is also disingenuous, if not absurd, that the individual who now claims she owned the cat didn’t care enough about the cat at the time to give it a collar and tag—or any evidence of ownership —or to get the animal vaccinated for rabies (in an area where rabies was pervasive), or to prevent the animal from roaming wild in an environment where it was likely to be eaten by coyotes or otherwise suffer and perish.

“It should be very troubling to regular people that the state of Texas is spending precious tax dollars on the prosecution of someone who … was simply protecting her property from a free-roaming feral animal and that this board doesn’t have the integrity that the district attorney in Austin County had to stand up to an irrational but loud lynch mob of zealots.

“We will be appealing the board’s decision to the district court, and we are confident that common sense and justice will prevail.”

Alley Cat Allies (cat welfare group) 

“Only a permanent revocation of Kristen Lindsey’s license is an acceptable ruling given the level of contempt for animals she has demonstrated. She shot Tiger, dangled him by an arrow through his head as he slowly died, and then celebrated the killing on social media with a grisly photo. She clearly broke the public trust we place in veterinarians and should never practice medicine again.

“With this ruling, animal owners may soon unknowingly place their animals in the care of a veterinarian who grossly violated her oath to prevent animal suffering. That’s why a full license revocation was the only choice to protect both the veterinary profession and animal owners who may work with her in the future.”


Originally published in the December 2016 issue of Veterinary Practice News. Did you enjoy this article? Then subscribe today! 

16 thoughts on ““I would do it all again.”

    1. Kristen Lindsay insists over and over that it was a “dangerous” feral cat she gleefully shot with her bow and arrow. She caused great agony for this beautiful animal, a cherished neighbor’s pet, not feral as she she tries to convince everyone. Kristen smiled brightly as her mother took the picture of her “kill” for her to post on Facebook. It was a neighbor’s beloved cat and they too showed pictures of their cat, the same one, riding on a riding lawn mower in their yard. Not only were the marking identical in the pictures, after that day, the neighbors never saw their cat again. Kristen Lindsay was trained as a veterinarian and had her license. Would anyone want this woman treating your fur-family member? Also, Feral cats are not easily seen as they avoid humans, even those who may be feeding them. They don’t walk up to a person and allow themselves to be shot at from a couple feet away. Feral cats are extremely wary of everything, especially humans. This cat was shot at very close range, the arrow protruding from both sides of the skull. It was apparent in the photo that the cat was struggling as one leg was lifted in the air not hanging down limp like a dead carcass would. All the while Kristen’s face was lit up like it was Christmas morning and she had just got the most amazing present. Even if you don’t particularly like cats – how can someone casually do this to an animal. And, a licensed veterinarian? That is outrageous. This woman woman should not be allowed to touch anyone’s dog, cat or any other animal. She learned nothing at all from this and still believes that she did nothing wrong, never apologizing for this despicable act or even to her neighbors whose cat she murdered. This is a woman with no empathy for animals. Perhaps no empathy for anyone. Remember her name so she will never have access to your beloved pets. I don’t live in Texas anymore, but if she comes to my state, I will make sure everyone knows who she is. The thought that she might work in animal clinics again gives me shudders. Remember, mass murders often start out by torturing animals.

  1. It’s funny to me how many people love to cite their dislike for cats. She’s clearly a doggy position type woman. Cat-dislikers may bring their dogs or pythons to her for veterinarian services, but what cat owner would bring their pet to this alien veterinarian? Even if it was a Feral Cat, who does this? It’s not a rat, it’s not a cockroach… it was a cat, and a pet-cat unfortunately. Gross behaviour. As far as her veterinary future, I hope she’s resigned to shoveling maure & injecting cattle with steroids at some corn-fed beef, mega-farm (equally awful, but I’ll stay on-topic). I don’t get understand. She went to Colorado State’s vet school! (Highly regarded Vet-school). Book smart, but a dummie? Baffling. Doggy style woman. I pray to Allah & Baby Jesus she chooses another occupation down the road.

  2. Evil people who murder small animals frequently end up murdering people! If you can use an arrow to murder a small house cat, you will kill anything!

  3. Thank you, Dr Folger, for your concise and expert testimony in this horrific case. The only thing we can hope is this woman is never allowed to practice again.. .at least not until she’s had psychiatric counseling. She is a poor excuse for a person and a blight on the veterinarian community.

  4. I fully support Dr Folger first of all. As for Dr psycho, her attorney going on about her protecting “her property” is a lie in itself. She was a renter. That isn’t her property. And how the hell was Tiger a threat to her horse? That’s ridiculous. She got a kick out of her first bow kill and showing it off with her parents on social media and called herself vet of the year for murdering a cat? I am sure all she learned from this whole thing is not to post her kills on social media. I fully believe she wouls do it again. She has no business ever working in the field of Veterinary medicine since they take an oath to save animals, not to torture and murder them. Karma isn’t finished with you Kristen Lindsey, you scum of the earth.

  5. Putting aside the horrible cruelty, who in their right mind would want a neighbor like this, someone who uses a bow and arrow in their back yard to kill an animal? She could have hurt a young child. I wish that authorities had focused on the reckless danger of her act as well as killing the cat. I hate that she appears not to have learned anything from her horrible act of cruelty.

  6. Dr. Folger says this despicable killing is different than hunting birds and deer… but how? Both involve the unnecessary infliction of violence and suffering on an innocent animal, for no good reason other than human pleasure and whim. I argue that hunting of ANY animal is equally morally reprehensible as to what this woman did. I long for the day when people will wake up and realize that the unnecessary killing of ANY animal is wrong.

    1. The answer is meat. Pure vegetarian diets are hard for a lot of people to live on (even Temple Grandin, a champion for animals, eats meat), and even if everyone WERE to be vegetarian, some animals would still have to die to feed our cats, our dogs, the big cats and other predators at wildlife rescue centers. Everything on Earth lives at the expense of something else. We should certainly take care to reduce the suffering involved in meat production, however, and in that respect, hunting a wild deer or bird that lived a good full life is much more humane than the way most farm meat is raised.

      That being said, the difference between this and, say, TROPHY HUNTING is not so different, or fur hunting.

  7. I would have expected a decent veterinarian and decent human being to castrate a feral tom cat not kill it in a cruel manner, the fact that this cat was someones pet and also not deceased but still suffering in those pictures shows what an unbelievably callous and cruel persomnality this woman has. She should never be allowed near animals again, and thank goodness there are those decent professionals prepared to speak out against her. What a horrible individual she is.

  8. Whatever possessed this woman to become a vet in the first place? Her glee at murdering someone’s beloved pet and her utter lack of remorse shows her sociopathic nature.
    The only regret she has expressed is at ruining her life. Well, she sure ruined that cat’s life, and broke the hearts of Tiger’s family. The cat brought love and joy into the world, while this pathetic piece of walking garbage has brought horrific suffering and death to an innocent, grief to those that loved it, and horror to animal-lovers everywhere.
    Don’t fret too much whether or not her license gets revoked, it’s doubtful she’ll ever get hired again–employers do check the internet about applicants, and her name and face has been plastered all over the Web. Even McDonald’s would hesitate about being associated with a notorious cat-killer.

  9. Thank you, Dr. Folger. I respect you a great deal. And complete SHAME on those colleagues who ridiculed your involvement. I consider them accessories to her crime. I don’t understand why anyone would want her to touch their animal in any way.

  10. Veterinarians in any state know that if they suspect an animal has rabies, it needs to be humanely put down AND the head removed and sent in for testing. Therefore, no reputable vet would shoot it in the head, dangle it for a photo op, touch it with their bare hands, not take the body in to the clinic they worked at, and not report it to animal control. Her lawyer claims this incident had nothing to do with her being a veterinarian. She violated several rules and laws. She did not do what she had sworn to do, take care of animals and to protect the public from possible exposure from Rabies by not reporting it to the proper channels. I myself, would not go to any clinic that employs her at all.

    Sincerely,

    30 plus years as a tech in Texas and disgusted she got off this easy

  11. C Kirk, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Anyone who loves their animals would avoid her like the plague – word of her being part of the staff would drive people away in a minute and the I’d give the clinic about six months to live. Either that, or they would fire her and try to regain their reputation.

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