Judges in bow-killing case recommend license suspension

August 23, 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 dvm360.com 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.

Kristen Lindsey, DVM, will also complete continuing education and community service if Texas board accepts judges' proposal.

Administrative law judges have recommended license suspension for Kristen Lindsey, DVM, the controversial veterinarian at the center of a bow-killing case, according to court documents filed on August 15.

Lindsey testifying at the administrative hearing. (Photo courtesy of Alley Cat Allies)

In addition to a five-year suspension of her license, the judges recommend that four years of that suspension be fully probated with quarterly reporting, required continuing education in the areas of veterinary jurisprudence and animal welfare or other such classes the board deems fit. The judges are also recommending a community service requirement of at least 100 hours to be completed at a feline rescue, free spay-neuter clinic or similar facility.  

The judges found that the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (TBVME) established that Lindsey did kill an owned cat without the permission of its owner, her conduct was "reckless," and the defenses of "depredation and justification are unavailable," the judges' proposal for decision reads. It also notes that Lindsey's actions were connected with the practice of veterinary medicine through her Facebook post and therefore she may be sanctioned under appropriate board rules.

The judges conclude that Lindsey's actions are "mitigated by the fact that Tiger died instantaneously and did not suffer and the opinion of Tiger's owners that [Lindsey] should be allowed to learn and build her character from this experience." A lack of prior misconduct or crimes, strong academic and work record prior to the incident, and split opinions among the veterinary profession in regard to the treatment of feral cat populations also led to the recommendation for suspension vs. revocation of Lindsey's license, the decision states.

This decision comes after Lindsey's motion for a partial new trial was denied in July. From here the TBVME and Lindsey's lawyer will have an opportunity to file a response to the judge's decision, which the judges will then review and make any changes, if necessary. That finalized decision will then be presented to the full TBVME at its next meeting, which could be as early as October 18, according to a statement on the TBVME website.

The case involving Lindsey began more in April 2015, and centers on a graphic photo she posted on her Facebook account with a caption 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 that 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."

An Austin County grand jury didn't find sufficient evidence to charge Lindsey with criminal animal cruelty, but the TBVME found her in violation in the Veterinary Practice Act and started the process to revoke her license.