— Pet Blogger in NZ (@SilverKittenNZ) September 5, 2016
In 2015, Texas veterinarian Kristen Lindsey posted a photo to Facebook in which she posed with a cat that had been killed with a bow and arrow.
“My first bow kill lol,” the photo’s caption read, according to the San Antonio Express-News. “The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it’s (sic) head! Vet of the year award… gladly accepted.”
The post enraged cat lovers and animal-rights activists, who called for Lindsey’s license to be revoked.
In the aftermath of the picture, Lindsey was reportedly fired from her job at a veterinary clinic in Brenham, about 90 miles from Austin.
On Tuesday, months after the initial Facebook posting, the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners ruled that Lindsey won’t be allowed to practice for a year.
Loris Jones, a spokeswoman for the state board, said the one-year period will be followed by four years of probation.
While Lindsey is on probation, Jones said, she must work with a supervising veterinarian, who must be approved by the state board and will submit reports. Lindsey must also obtain additional education in animal welfare, Jones said.
The Associated Press reports that Lindsey’s attorney had argued that his client thought the cat was feral, and that her actions weren’t out of the ordinary in the area where she lived.
Her lawyer, Brian Bishop, told the board she believed the cat was feral and that it isn’t unusual for people near her rural home west of Houston to dispose of feral animals. She shouldn’t have posted an image to Facebook in April 2015, Bishop said, but she didn’t act with “criminal recklessness.”
“This case would never have gone forward but for the fact that we live in a social-media age,” Bishop said.
Bishop said in an email Tuesday evening that he and his client were “disappointed” by the board’s decision and planned to appeal.
“We are also disappointed that the Board has, for all intents and purposes, chosen to take sides in the culture war between the animal rescues zealots — who have campaigned to destroy Dr. Lindsey and her family — versus rural property owners who have the right to protect their property and their own animals from feral animals who are destroying their property and threatening their own animals,” he said in an email to The Washington Post.
Lindsey, Bishop wrote, “did what she did to protect her property and her own cat from an animal that was trespassing on her property, damaging her property, and endangering her domestic cat and her horse.”
“It should be very troubling to regular people that the State of Texas is spending precious tax dollars on the prosecution of someone who was simply protecting her property from a free-roaming feral animal, and that this Board doesn’t have the integrity that the District Attorney in Austin County had to stand up to an irrational — but loud — lynch mob of zealots,” he wrote.
According to AP, the cat belonged to a neighbor of Lindsey’s and was named Tiger.
A grand jury in 2015 declined to indict the vet, news outlets reported at the time.
— Steven Cates (@sc_mo) October 18, 2016
— Meet Dash Kitten (@DashKitten) April 26, 2016
— PFred (@patfrederickson) April 28, 2016