An open letter from concerned veterinarians worldwide to Dr. Kristen Lindsey

August 11, 2016

Veterinarians take to social media to offer a compassionate take on veterinarian embroiled in cat bow-hunting scandal.

Editor's note: The following letter was a collective effort from veterinarians via Facebook to send a message to Kristen Lindsey, DVM, the Texas veterinarian infamous for shooting a cat with a bow and arrow. Lindsey filed a motion for a partial new trial that was recently denied.

Also, a number of veterinarians originally signed this letter with their full names; however, after they received backlash on social media that included death threats, the editors and authors together decided to use initials for all signatories out of concern for personal safety.

Dear Dr. Kristen Lindsey,

The most important trait of any veterinarian is compassion, and we extend our compassion to you. As much as we find your behavior unacceptable for a professional in our field, we can still support you as a person.

As veterinarians, we consider life sacred and suffering abhorrent, including yours. Our profession is already fighting to maintain integrity in the public's eye, and the veterinary community is now wrestling with the ethical issues-and clients' subsequent reactions-raised by one of “us” being proud of killing a cat using a method not listed in the AVMA guidelines. Indeed, many supporters of this letter wish to remain anonymous so that they are not associated with these practices. Still, there are larger issues which we hope to address with you in this writing.

Our profession's suicide and mental illness rates rank among the highest in the United States, and even the world. The fact that public shaming, like that aimed to you, can have serious effects on a person's mental and emotional stability has not escaped our notice, especially given the all too recent links shown between bullying (cyberbullying and other forms) and the preventable loss of our colleagues. Because of this we are concerned for your well-being, and urge you to seek help as necessary. While we cannot speak for you in any legal matter or otherwise-even if that means the veterinary profession may not be in your future-we hope that you find the support you need to emerge from this as a wiser, stronger and more effective member of the community.

You matter. We are here for you should you need a supportive or empathetic ear.

Signed:

Drs. MMK, DD, LB, JM, EA, DLB, CD, SS, AMvH, MK, MSH, RH, EKB, EE, EA, JGNM, LW, LS, BE, RS, CGN, KF, LPO, CR, NL, CR, LCH, SH, MEB, LTG, EA, RV, KWW, AW, DA, JLP, MML, HL, JP, BRP, JS, MvCP, LN, KS, KC, SA, CG, JH, JG, MS, BB, AG, JS, VH, LS, AHW, PG, CS, TKSR, JE, LP, CR, TKK, EKB, MD, JM, AH, NS, LE, ZJ, JT, CMC, MD, KN, MEG, VMG, KAP, KHP, MED, TMD, JMM, CLS, JCK, KPR, MYR, RAV, RO, KK, LAB, MSR, AIN