In April 2015, Kristen Lindsey, DVM, shot a cat through the head with an arrow and then posted a picture on Facebook with the following caption:
“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.”
These facts are not in dispute. Why she did it, however, is. This is why she is currently testifying in an administrative hearing in order to try and keep her veterinary license. At its heart is the question, “Is there any justifiable reason for her to have done that?”
The answer is no. It is an unequivocal no.
I have avoided commenting on the topic because once the image went viral, the reaction was swift and potent. She has received death threats and her family has been harassed. What she did was horrific and wrong, and sending death threats is also horrific and wrong, and I didn’t want to embolden the sentiment that might encourage one more person to do so.
I have yet to read a single sentiment from the veterinary community that attempts to defend Lindsey. What I have read, and it reflects my own views, is that her actions are utterly condemnable and she needs to be removed from the profession. Physically attacked or threatened? No.
But Please, Please Go Away
The reason I am speaking on this now is to clarify the position that just because many of us have not clamored to do the same to Lindsey as she did to (what most presume to be) Tiger, this does not mean we want anything to do with her in the profession.
This was a career-ending action. There is no place in this field for a colleague who thinks it is 1. appropriate to do this in the first place and 2. post it on social media. There just isn’t.
Had she simply disappeared under the radar and gone on to find a job in a non animal-related field, I would never have even written about the case. But she didn’t. She is fighting to keep her license. The VIN News Service is sharing the testimony on Facebook and it is alternatively sad and horrible and infuriating.
She is continuing to try and justify her actions based on what she thought the cat was (feral, intact, rabid, it keeps morphing.) There are no justifying conditions.
She is arguing that if she loses her Texas license, she will not be able to get licensed anywhere else, that she is unemployable. That is a consequence she brought upon herself. The only remorse she has expressed is for herself.
She has forced a hearing at which the presumptive owners of Tiger have to come in with lawyers, be cross-examined, and again view what happened to the cat. She is continuing to cause distress to these people by forcing them to participate in this hearing.
I will continue to state forcefully and with great passion that I do not think violence, or even threats of violence, are an appropriate response to a violent act. But I will also state forcefully and with great passion that Dr. Lindsey, we do not want you in our profession representing what we work so hard to do every day to better the lives of people and animals.
It doesn’t really matter what the board decides in terms of your license, I highly doubt you will ever practice again. So please, for the sake of everyone involved, please- stop this fight to stay within the field. You’ve already shown yourself out.
Thank you for this blog. Her actions were not justified in any way that I can see. She took an oath to help animals not to kill them for fun, as this appears. And why would you kill a feral cat instead of doing a TNR? We don’t live in a 3rd world country.
The sad thing is that, God forbid, she gets to keep her license, there will be ignoramuses that will use her. If the current political circus is any indication of the incredible amount of “DA’s” there are, there will be plenty. I’ll stop before you have to censor this comment 🙂
Thank you for (once again) speaking kind truth.
Rachel De Jong says
quite right,we don’t need professionals like this,xx Speedy
It is depressing that the worse that can happen to her is to lose her license! Why isn’t she being prosecuted AND SENTENCED – for animal cruelty? Most of us perpetrating such a horrible cruelty would be facing charges and hopefully imprisonment. Even should her Texas license be revoked, it seems she’s free to live her life with no other consequence. Additionally, there have been many medical doctors (gynecologists, obstetricians, surgeons, dentists, etc.) that lost their license in one state due to malpractice/incompetence that were able to get re-licensed simply by moving to another state! Is this a a possible outcome for Dr. Lindsey? Most likely! This cannot happen, no matter whether that practice is for the care of humans or of animals. We must enforce existing laws and create new ones to prevent further abuse and murder of innocents. Praying for the day when children and animals are no longer abused or killed.