The disciplinary case against Texas veterinarian Kristen Lindsey, DVM, who admitted using a bow and arrow to kill an outdoor cat, is headed to mediation.
Catherine Egan, the administrative law judge who was scheduled to hold a hearing March 8 on the state’s attempt to revoke Dr. Lindsey’s veterinary license, referred the case to fellow judge Howard Seitzman, who will preside over a mediation period potentially lasting until April 20. Egan’s order was co-signed by another administrative law judge after a prehearing conference Tuesday.
The hearing was postponed indefinitely pending the mediation.
Lindsey’s lawyer, Brian Bishop, commented briefly on the change of direction.
“Dr. Lindsey and I look forward to mediation and we are hopeful that we can resolve everything, and everybody move forward,” Bishop said.
A spokeswoman for the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners stated only: “The matter is headed to mediation, and at this time we do not have any comment.”
The case exploded in April 2015 after Lindsey posted news of the killing on her Facebook page. An accompanying photo showed Lindsey holding an arrow aloft, the cat impaled between the eyes.
One of her comments was: “My first bow kill … lol. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it’s [sic] head! Vet of the year award … gladly accepted.”
The act and her boasting infuriated animal activists and others. The state board received hundreds of formal complaints and tens of thousands of angry emails.
From the start, the dead cat was believed to be an orange tabby named Tiger, but the carcass was not recovered and Lindsey asserted that she killed a different cat—one that was feral and “likely rabid,” according to court documents.
Tiger’s owners and pet sitter identified him in the photo as the victim.
The Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners in October accused Lindsey of animal cruelty and unprofessional conduct, arguing that the agency was empowered to pursue the charges even though Lindsey was off duty at the time of the killing. Lindsey was fired from her job at Washington Animal Clinic in Brenham—the same hospital where Tiger was a patient—within days of the Facebook post.
Court documents filed in advance of the now-postponed revocation hearing included excerpts from a deposition that Lindsey gave Feb. 9. She backed away from her earlier rabies claims.
Question: The time that 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 (later): 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.
The board believes that Lindsey was wearing archery gloves in the infamous photo.
The court documents also shed light on Lindsey’s predicament and the people who may testify on her behalf.
In a filing from Jan. 22, Bishop noted that Lindsey had paid or was expected to pay about $30,000 in attorney’s fees and that an appeal could cost an additional $15,000. Just a month later, on Feb. 25, Bishop reported that he was representing Lindsey for free because she “does not work and does not have the resources to pay an attorney to defend her.”
The Feb. 25 document also stated that Lindsey cannot return to her home state of Wyoming and “apply for or get a permanent veterinary job while this proceeding is pending.”
“The ‘lynch mob’ of animal rights activists (some of whom have previously called for Dr. Lindsey to be raped and shot) continue to publicly defame and harass Dr. Lindsey,” her lawyer wrote.
Lindsey’s proposed witness list includes two nearby livestock owners, Houston veterinarian Paul Smith, DVM, and a Texas Farm Bureau employee. All could be called to testify, according to the document, that:
- The cat died instantaneously and “did not suffer any pain or unnecessary suffering.”
- The act “was not inhumane.”
- “Feral cats are predatory and invasive and pose a health risk to humans and other animals and birds if not controlled or managed.”
- “The eradication of feral cats is a common and prevalent practice in rural areas to protect domestic animals and humans.”
Misty Christo, a staff attorney with the feline advocacy group Alley Cat Allies, which filed a friend of the court brief Feb. 29 in support of the board’s actions, said mediation will allow for further investigation.
Whether the cat was feral remains an open question given the lack of a carcass and Tiger’s unknown whereabouts. Lindsey did not turn over the carcass, Christo said.
“When the [board] requested that she produce the cat’s body, she stated that it was decomposed and the remains were no longer available,” Christo said. “And then she admitted that she did not even look for the remains of the cat.”
The leaders of Alley Cat Allies, based in Bethesda, Md., expect Lindsey’s license to be revoked, Christo said.
“We applaud the board for sticking to this,” she said.
“We’re still hopeful that she won’t be able to practice veterinary medicine in Texas, and I have to agree with something that the board said: She’s going to have a difficult time finding employment anywhere due to the notoriety of the case.”