Bow-killing veterinarian's motion for new trial denied

July 19, 2016
Katie James, dvm360 Associate Content Specialist
Katie James, dvm360 Associate Content Specialist

Katie James is an Associate Content Specialist for UBM Animal Care. She produces and edits content for and its associated print publications, dvm360 magazine, Vetted and Firstline. She has a passion for creating highly-engaging content through the use of new technology and storytelling platforms. In 2018, she was named a Folio: Rising Star Award Honoree, an award given to individuals who are making their mark and disrupting the status quo of magazine media, even in the early stages of their careers. She was also named an American Society of Business Publication Editors Young Leader Scholar in 2015. Katie grew up in the Kansas City area and graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism. Outside of the office her sidekick is an energetic Australian cattle dog mix named Blitz.

Administrative law judges overseeing the case find Kristen Lindsey failed to show good cause.

Kristen Lindsey, DVM, the Texas veterinarian infamous for shooting a cat with a bow and arrow, has been denied a partial retrial, according to court documents. In June 2016, Lindsey's lawyer filed a motion for a partial new trial and to strike the testimony of an expert witness who testified on behalf of the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (TBVME).

Lindsey testifying during her administrative hearing. (Photo courtesy of Alley Cat Allies)

During the administrative hearing, William Folger, DVM, MS, DABVP (feline), feline regent for the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, was called to discuss the markings of the cat in question and the pain and suffering it had likely experienced. He also testified that he believed the cat was still alive when Lindsey posed for the photo, based on its positioning, local media reported at the time of the hearing. Lindsey had maintained that the cat died instantaneously in her testimony.

The new trial motion asserted Folger was inconsistent in the testimony he presented at the hearing and statements he'd made on the Veterinary Information Network (VIN) website. Folger had also displayed animosity towards Lindsey, comparing her to Hannibal Lecter and calling her a lunatic, court documents state.

On July 18, the administrative law judges assigned to the case denied Lindsey's motion, stating that she had failed to show good cause to grant the motion and that the motion for the partial new trial was premature. "Pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, a motion for rehearing must be filed ‘no later than the 25th day after the date the decision or order that is the subject of the motion is signed.' No decision or order concerning this case will issue until the Proposal for Decision is issued, reviewed, and acted upon by the Board," the order states.

The case involving Lindsey began more than a year ago, and centers around a graphic photo she posted on her Facebook account in April 2015 that bragged about shooting a cat with a bow and arrow.

"My first bow kill ... lol," the post read, accompanying the photo of the veterinarian smiling and holding the cat by an arrow which appeared to be shot through its head. "The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it's [sic] head! Vet of the year award ... gladly accepted."

Though there was a crush of public outrage from all corners of the world, an Austin County grand jury found there was insufficient evidence to charge Lindsey with criminal animal cruelty in connection with her actions. However, the TBVME found her in violation in the Veterinary Practice Act and started the process to revoke her license.

A mediation session aimed at resolving the case was unsuccessful and a hearing before administrative law judges took place on April 25-26, 2016. Testimony was heard from witnesses called by both Lindsey and the TBVME. Following that hearing, just before the June 10 deadline for final arguments, Lindsey filed the motion for the partial new trial.

The TBVME's response to Lindsey's motion called it an "eleventh-hour attempt to discredit a highly reliable, informative expert witness," according to court documents. The board asserted that Lindsey's motion didn't meet the required elements to reopen evidence, that she hadn't shown good cause for partial new trial and that there was no basis to strike Folger's testimony. The TBVME asked that the motion be denied by the administrative law judges overseeing the case.

Michelle Griffin, the TBVME's attorney, tells dvm360 that at the earliest the administrative law judge's proposal for decision could be considered and voted on at the next TBVME board meeting on October 18, 2016. However, the board expects the case will not be heard until the January 24, 2017 full board meeting.