I have always admired veterinarians, for their compassion towards animals as well as their ability and instincts to care for patients that could never tell them what was wrong or were it hurt.
Veterinarians take an oath to promote animal health and welfare and to also work to relieve animal suffering. However veterinarian Kristen Lindsey from Texas seemed to miss that part when last week she posted a picture of herself posing with the body of a dead cat. She had shot the orange tabby cat with a bow and arrow and was boasting about the kill on Facebook where she can be seen smiling with the body. The image besides inciting a great deal of anger, reminded me of how trophy hunters pose with their kills.
The image was blurred on some media but the original can be seen here
Along with the disgusting image, the caption on the photo is telling of her callous nature and actions that mirror the behavior of a sociopath. In my eyes this is a not only a crime committed against an innocent animal, but also a betrayal to the veterinarian oath she took.
She had no fear of repercussions apparently which was reflected in the comment section of her post where she wrote “no I did not lose my job. Lol. Psshh. Like someone would get rid of me. I’m awesome!”. The poison apple doesn’t fall far from the tree either, as the legitimacy of the image was called into question and Kristen’s supportive mother writes that it was indeed real and that she took the picture.
The backlash on Facebook was furious and Kristen’s page came down pretty quick but not before people grabbed screenshots. Washington Animal Clinic where she worked immediately issued a statement and proceeded to fire her. Pictures of the crime made the rounds and surprisingly, or maybe not, people defended her actions. Veterinarians who looked at the photo determined that the orange tabby, who had been shot through the head, was STILL ALIVE when she took this picture.
I have a lot of words to describe Kristen Lindsey, none of them good. I do not think she deserves forgiveness nor sympathy, and she should be shown no mercy for her actions. The orange cat was later identified as Tiger, he was known as a sweet cat who would join his owner as she drove through the farm, and from this video you can see Tiger was well-loved.
Tigers owners are now in the process of filing charges against Kristen Lindsey and have asked the public refrain from harassing her and her family, even though the murder of their beloved cat is a horrendous crime, as it may affect the case.
Over the past few days more disturbing news has come out about Kristen, including a blog she maintained where she wrote “...about finding the meaning of happiness, killing things or trying to kill things (animals, a full glass of whiskey, hangovers, etc), my friends… hunting with my dad and better yet…learning from my dad as we hunt.”
The case is far from over as the investigation gets underway but there are several petitions to sign, including this one by Change.org, to revoke her vet license and help ensure she is prosecuted to the fullest extent that the law allows. Alley Cat Allies is also offering a $7,500 reward for hard evidence that can be used to get a conviction.
On Facebook two pages in support of Tiger now exist where you can get regular updates about the case Justice for Tiger and Justice for Tiger The cat murdered by Kristen Lindsey.
Animal abuse and cruelty is wrong and should never be considered acceptable in our society whether the act is committed by an average person or by those we put in high regard, like veterinarians. Sadly we still have a long way to go but must continue to advocate for better laws and for ways to prevent it from happening. For Tiger and all the animals like him, we must ensure their deaths were not in vain.
The link between animal abuse and cruelty to humans has been well documented and recently the FBI has made animal cruelty a felony with its own category — the same way crimes like homicide, arson and assault are listed. While these are important steps it will take the actions of individuals everywhere to make change.
Learn how to recognize animal cruelty, report it, advocate for better laws and lead by example where you live.
In the US please check out the ASPCA and, in Canada Stop Animal Abuse, both offer resources for ways to help make a difference.
On April 21, 2015 as reported by the Associate Press:
“A Texas sheriff has asked for an animal cruelty charge against a veterinarian who bragged on social media about killing a cat with an arrow. Austin County Sheriff Jack Brandes said Tuesday that results of his department’s investigation have been submitted to District Attorney Travis Koehn. Koehn says his office “will carefully review this matter.”