A veterinarian in rural Texas is the subject of an animal-cruelty investigation after allegedly bragging on social media about slaying a cat with a bow and arrow.
In a post that was widely shared on Facebook, Kristen Lindsey, 31, of Brenham, in southern Texas, appears in a photo that shows her grinning as she holds up a dead orange tabby, still skewered on an arrow.
"My first bow kill... lol," read the caption beneath the image posted Wednesday. "The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through [its] head. Vet of the year award... gladly accepted."
Some in the rural community about 75 miles northwest of Houston fear the slain cat was a family pet, Tiger, who had gone missing earlier that day.
"Still no signs of Tiger and his food went untouched again," reported a Facebook page titled "Justice for Cat Murdered By Kristen Lindsey," which attracted almost 30,000 followers in recent days. "Please pray," a moderator of the Web page wrote. "As the hours move forward, hope seems to dwindle more."
Lindsey has already been fired by the Washington Animal Clinic in Brenham. "We are absolutely appalled, shocked, upset, and disgusted by the conduct," the clinic stated in a post on its website. "We do not allow such conduct and we condemn it in the strongest possible manner."
Austin County Sheriff Jack W. Brandes, who has three investigators on the case, said Saturday that he was proceeding cautiously before talking to prosecutors about bringing charges of cruelty to non-livestock animals, a class A misdemeanor under the Texas penal code. Investigators, he said, had yet to interview Lindsey or identify the cat.
Lindsey's Facebook page has been taken down, and she could not be reached for comment Saturday. Brandes said his staff planned to meet with her and her attorney next week.
"If this did occur, it's a criminal act," Brandes said in a telephone interview, noting that many in the community — including himself — were bothered by the photograph. "It's disgusting and very alarming. Yet our job is to investigate, then present a case to the district attorney. People are concerned, but we can't convict someone of a crime based on a picture on Facebook."
Since the controversy erupted, some Texas residents have issued death threats to Lindsey. "PLEASE DO NOT post threats again Kristen or her family," a moderator for the Justice for Cat Murdered by Kristen Lindsey Facebook page posted before the page was apparently taken down Saturday afternoon. "We do NOT wish her ill feelings, but we do wish for justice to be done."
Others have come to Lindsey's defense. "All these people in the cities just don't understand what goes on in the country and they get in an uproar," Washington County resident Preston Northrup told the local KBTV-TV station. "They ought to just mind their own business."
The Texas Veterinary Medical Assn. condemned the action, releasing a statement that said, "We are saddened and disturbed by the unfortunate actions of this individual. We remind Texas residents that this conduct is not reflective of the veterinary profession or of the veterinarians who strive to embody the words of the veterinarian's oath every day."