On November 11, 2016, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sent a letter to Austin County District Attorney Travis J. Koehn to reopen the animal cruelty case against Lindsey based on new evidence uncovered during the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiner’s hearings. They made their intentions public on their Facebook community page back on November 30. A complete case file can be found on the ALDF website. For those of you unfamiliar with the Kristen Lindsey case, links to more than 30 of my articles can be found here that will bring you up to date and then some.
Many of the reasons cited by Koehn for not prosecuting Lindsey were upended during and after the April 2016 hearing. Thanks to the efforts of Animal Legal Defense Fund, Austin County District Attorney Koehn is once again challenged to do the right thing and charge Lindsey with animal cruelty. Here are some of the inconsistencies and the ALDF version of what REALLY happened. These were all pointed out in a recent letter to Mr. Koehn.
- Koehn: it could not be proven that Tiger was killed in Texas, making it impossible to establish jurisdiction.
ALDF: Kristen Lindsey admitted that she killed a cat on her property in Texas.
- Koehn: Tiger’s identity could not be proven.
ALDF: Tiger was positively identified by several people in court and affirmed by the 2 judges.
- Koehn: District Attorney Koehn’s press release made peculiar references to the lax animal cruelty laws in Lindsey’s home state of Wyoming.
ALDF: Pointed out to Mr. Koehn that Texas residents are required to abide by Texas laws, and not the laws of Wyoming.
One paragraph in the November 11 letter to Koehn states:
“Moreover, whether a cat is feral or not does not change the protection that cat is due under Texas animal cruelty law, as the legislative history of the Texas cruelty to non-livestock animals law (Texas Penal Code § 42.092) illustrates. When the Texas legislature choose to amend the state’s animal cruelty laws in 2007, it put feral cats squarely within the scope of protected animals. In doing so, the Texas legislature was responding to earlier incidents where the killers of feral cats had escaped prosecution by arguing that the law (pre-2007) did not protect feral cats. Whether the cat slain by Ms. Lindsey was Tiger or a feral cat does not, therefore, place her conduct beyond the scope of Texas’s criminal prohibition on cruelty to non-livestock animals.
Notably, though the SOAH Judges’ analysis treats the slain cat as Tiger, this analysis rings equally true if the slain feline were a feral cat. A feral cat is, by definition un-owned—and as such, Ms. Lindsey could not have effective owner’s consent to kill a feral cat. Regardless of whether the slain cat was an unnamed feral cat or Tiger, Ms. Lindsey simply did not have the requisite authorization to kill him.”
ALDF stated they wholeheartedly support the Austin County District Attorney’s Office’s position that decisions regarding criminal prosecution must be made based on “the law and evidence in each individual case.” At this point in time the evidence on record before Texas court has established that Lindsey killed Tiger without consent and cannot give a good reason for killing Tiger and more than meets the threshold required for indictment on a charge of cruelty to a non-livestock animal under 42.092(b).
A copy of the full letter can be downloaded in PDF format from their website under the “timeline of events” section. There’s a three-year statute of limitation on animal cruelty in Texas, so there’s still time to hold Lindsey accountable for her cruel actions.
Perhaps it’s time to start a revival of phone calls and faxes. Information needed to contact District Attorney Koehn can be found below. Remember, petitions are good, but hundreds of phone calls and faxes carry more weight because SOMEONE is being inconvenienced to the point of paying attention!
One East Main Street
Bellville, Texas 77418
There’s still a chance for Tiger to receive justice. This isn’t over ’til it’s over, and there are enough animal advocates out there to keep this case alive for a long time. The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners let her off with a slap on the wrist. Perhaps the legal system will prevail. We can only hope. For the most accurate updates, Tiger’s Justice Team News Page on Facebook is the most accurate.