By Tiger’s Justice Team
Intro: Tiger’s Justice Team has filed a new complaint with the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. In this complaint we are asking the board to investigate the “rabid cat defense” suggested by prosecutor Travis Koehn. It is our hope that the board can compel Lindsey to confirm or deny this preposterous story. The new complaint contains other allegations as well. Update 28 Aug – the complaint was successful. Please read this (opens new window)
TO: Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (TBVME)
RE: Formal complaint against Dr. Kristen Erin Lindsey
DATE: July 26, 2015
This complaint is a request to the TBVME to investigate possible violations by Kristen Lindsey in her handling of a potentially rabid animal. In his press release of 6/24/15, District Attorney Travis Koehn implied that Dr. Lindsey may have killed a suspected rabid cat while in the process of protecting her pets. Given the exceedingly low probability of the presence of a rabid cat, and other possible reasons Dr. Lindsey may have viewed the cat as a threat, it is likely that DA Koehn was given this explanation for her actions by either Lindsey herself, or her attorney, Brian Bishop. It strains credulity that DA Koehn produced this idea out of thin air. Therefore, we ask that the TBVME conduct a further investigation.
– Please determine if the rabid cat defense was offered to anyone at the TBVME, and whether this information can be shared with complainants.
If Dr. Lindsey did claim that she killed a suspected rabid cat to protect her own pets or for any other reason, then she is in violation of the following rules, unless proof to the contrary is provided:
Shown below are portions of TEXAS ADMINISTRATIVE CODE TITLE 25, HEALTH SERVICES, PART I. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES, CHAPTER 169, ZOONOSIS CONTROL, SUBCHAPTER A. RABIES CONTROL AND ERADICATION.
“§169.22. Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. Unless defined in this section, all words have definitions as provided in the Texas Health and Safety Code, §826.002.
11) Euthanatize–To cause the death of an animal implementing a technique that is in accordance with the methods, recommendations, and procedures prepared by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and set forth in the latest edition of the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia and: (A) rapidly produces unconsciousness and death with minimal pain or distress; or (B) utilizes anesthesia produced by an agent that causes painless loss of consciousness and death following such loss of consciousness. (12) Health service region–A contiguous group of Texas counties, so designated by the Executive Commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission. (13) High-risk animals–Those animals which have a high probability of transmitting rabies; they include skunks, bats, foxes, coyotes, and raccoons.”
According to the AVMA, killing an animal by means of a bow and arrow is not humane euthanasia. Furthermore, cats are classified as low risk carriers of rabies. According to data published by the Texas Department of State Health Services, only one incident of rabies in cats has occurred in both Austin and Washington Counties in the past 17 years. This isolated case happened in 2012, in Washington County.
– Please ask Dr. Lindsey to describe the symptoms the cat displayed and to explain why she believed rabies was an accurate diagnosis, given the low probability of its likelihood. What methods did she use to rule out other diseases?
If she considered it potentially rabid, additional concerns arise regarding Dr. Lindsey’s pre- and post-mortem handling of the cat. As a veterinarian, Lindsey should have known that the head of a suspected rabid animal needed to be intact, yet she killed the cat by inflicting extensive head and brain trauma. Please note Texas state lab specimen requirements, cited below.
“ §169.33. Submission of Specimens for Laboratory Examination. Preparation of specimens either for shipment or for personal delivery for rabies diagnosis shall include the following. (1) Damage to the brain caused by shooting or other traumatizing procedures shall be avoided. (2) The head of the suspect animal shall be separated from the body by a qualified person wearing appropriate personal protective equipment as soon as possible after the death of the animal. Only the head shall be submitted with the exception that whole bats and small rodents may be submitted. If only the brain is submitted rather than the entire head, the minimum tissue requirements for rabies testing are a complete transverse cross section of the brain stem and tissue from at least one of the following: cerebellum and/or hippocampus. Submissions that do not meet these tissue requirements will be considered unsatisfactory due to a lack of sufficient material. (3) The specimen shall be immediately chilled to between 32 degrees Fahrenheit and 45 degrees Fahrenheit either in a refrigerator or by packing for shipping with sufficient amounts of refrigerants in the container; the specimen should not be frozen. When shipping, sufficient refrigerant shall be added so the specimen will remain chilled for a minimum of 48 hours. Do not use dry ice. Gel packs or similar refrigerants are recommended. Ice is not recommended. (4) If specimens are shipped, containment in compliance with requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 49, shall be used for packing. Packing methods shall prevent leakage and provide for proper identification (such as an identification number) of the specimen. (5) A completed department Form G-9, Rabies Submission Form, which is available at the department’s Laboratory Services Section, Department of State Health Services, 1100 West 49th Street, Austin, Texas 78756, is required for each specimen submitted to the department’s Laboratory Services Section. Each form must contain the same identification information provided with the specimen as stated in paragraph (4) of this section. Submission form(s) shall be contained in a water-proof bag. (6) Labeling on the outside of the shipping container shall be legible and include: (A) name, address, and telephone number of the laboratory; (B) name, return address, and telephone number of the shipper…”
– Although the specimen was likely too damaged for accurate testing, please investigate and determine whether Dr. Lindsey followed any of the above required procedures.
It also appears that Dr. Lindsey did not comply with HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE, TITLE 10. HEALTH AND SAFETY OF ANIMALS, CHAPTER 826, RABIES, as excerpted below.
“SUBCHAPTER E. REPORTS AND QUARANTINE
Sec. 826.041. REPORTS OF RABIES. (a) A person who knows of an animal bite or scratch to an individual that the person could reasonably foresee as capable of transmitting rabies, or who knows of an animal that the person suspects is rabid, shall report the incident or animal to the local rabies control authority of the county or municipality in which the person lives, in which the animal is located, or in which the exposure occurs.
(b) The report must include:
(1) the name and address of the victim and of the animal’s owner, if known; and
(2) any other information that may help in locating the victim or animal.
(c) The local rabies control authority shall investigate a report filed under this section.”
“Sec. 826.042. QUARANTINE OF ANIMALS. (a) The board shall adopt rules governing the testing of quarantined animals and the procedure for and method of quarantine.
(b) The local rabies control authority or a veterinarian shall quarantine or test in accordance with board rules any animal that the local rabies control authority or veterinarian has probable cause to believe is rabid, may have been exposed to rabies, or may have exposed a person to rabies.
(c) An owner shall submit for quarantine an animal that:
(1) is reported to be rabid or to have exposed an individual to rabies; or
(2) the owner knows or suspects is rabid or has exposed an individual to rabies.
(d) The owner shall submit the animal to the local rabies control authority of the county or municipality in which the exposure occurs.
(e) A veterinarian shall quarantine an animal that:
(1) is in the possession of the veterinarian; and
(2) the veterinarian knows or suspects is rabid or has exposed an individual to rabies.”
Dr. Lindsey could have and should have notified Brenham Animal Control to humanely trap and, if indicated, quarantine the cat. Failing that, as a professional, she should have known how to obtain a humane trap, and could have trapped the cat herself.
“Sec. 826.043. RELEASE OR DISPOSITION OF QUARANTINED ANIMAL. (a) If a veterinarian determines that a quarantined animal does not show the clinical signs of rabies, the veterinarian or local rabies control authority shall release the animal to its owner when the quarantine period ends if:
(1) the owner has an unexpired rabies vaccination certificate for the animal; or
(2) the animal is vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian at the owner’s expense.
(b) If a veterinarian determines that a quarantined animal shows the clinical signs of rabies, the veterinarian or local rabies control authority shall humanely destroy the animal. If an animal dies or is destroyed while in quarantine, the veterinarian or local rabies control authority shall remove the head or brain of the animal and submit it to the nearest department laboratory for testing.
Sec. 826.044. QUARANTINE; CRIMINAL PENALTY. (a) A person commits an offense if the person fails or refuses to quarantine or present for quarantine or testing an animal that:
(1) is required to be placed in quarantine or presented for testing under Section 826.042 and board rules; or
(2) is required to be placed in quarantine under ordinances or rules adopted under this chapter by a county or municipality within whose jurisdiction the act occurs.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.”
Dr. Lindsey had the opportunity to humanely trap the cat and have it quarantined. She did not do this as required by law.
– Please ensure that this violation is reported to appropriate law enforcement agencies, and taken into consideration in TBVME disciplinary action. This reckless and illegal act provides further evidence of her unprofessional conduct.
In addition, Title 4, Chapter 801, Sec. 801.361 of the Occupations Code outlines the following requirements for disposal of animal remains.
“Sec. 801.361. DISPOSAL OF ANIMAL REMAINS. (a) In this section, ” medical waste” includes animal waste, blood, gloves, sleeves, newspapers, and plastic bags, but does not include sharps.
(b) A veterinarian may dispose of the remains of an animal and medical waste associated with the animal by burial or burning if:
(1) the burial or burning occurs on property owned by the veterinarian that is located:
(A) outside the corporate boundaries of a municipality; or
(B) within the corporate boundaries of a municipality as a result of an annexation that occurs on or after September 1, 2003; and
(2) at least one of the following requirements is met:
(A) a veterinarian-client-patient relationship existed between the veterinarian, the owner or other caretaker of the animal, and the animal before the animal’s death;
(B) the veterinarian diagnosed, treated, boarded, or otherwise cared for the animal before its death; or
(C) the veterinarian performed euthanasia or an autopsy on the animal.”
-Please determine how Dr. Lindsey disposed of the cat’s remains, and whether she acted in compliance with these rules.
As a veterinarian, Dr. Lindsey should have been aware of the duties and functions of Brenham Animal Control, and she should have been aware of the symptoms of rabies.
“Among the duties of Brenham animal control are the following:
Animal Control Officers provide a variety of services to the citizens of Brenham including:
- Picking up stray/at large animals
- Trapping wild/feral animals”
Although failure to report the incident to Animal Control may not be specifically cited in the rules of the TBVME, such mishandling of a potentially rabid animal displays an appalling lack of professionalism. Such disregard of standard procedure undermines the authority of Brenham Animal Control, and potentially endangers other animals and humans.
– Please consider this unprofessional conduct during board deliberations.
The public has a right to expect veterinarians to abide by their oath to relieve animal suffering at all times. Kristen Lindsey has publicly stated or implied her love of killing animals on more than one occasion.
In addition to the highly publicized Facebook photo and comments, Dr. Lindsey’s blog post, “Life Writings from the Lazy Boot,” indicates that Tiger’s killing was not an isolated incident:
“Current interests: Living my days to the fullest, finding the meaning of happiness, killing things or trying to kill things (animals, a full glass of whiskey, hangovers, etc.) . . .”
Also, another Facebook post exists, in which Dr. Lindsey actually encourages another person to shoot a cat with a bow and arrow. On September 4, 2011, David Bernard wrote the following comment:
“I am sick and tired of stepping in cat shit when i mow the lawn and i don’t even own a F@%&$ing cat!!! Next cat i see better hope that i don’t have my bow out!!”
Kristen Lindsey’s response was:
“Do it! Hahahaha. This made me laugh out loud.”
Also, there are reports of a letter written to DA Koehn, from a cousin of Dr. Lindsey, in which this person describes the disregard Lindsey feels toward animals, and her prior acts of cruelty. In a Facebook post, James Hemphill stated:
“I know Kristen Lindsey’s cousin and she told me that Kristen has a drinking and drug problem and often goes on rampages killing birds, rabbits and squirrels. She supposedly has a ‘bone collection’ of all the animals she has killed. She became a vet because she likes to “see their insides.” The woman is sick and should NOT be working around animals.”
In a separate Facebook post, Mr. Hemphill stated:
“The cousin sent a letter explaining all of this to the Austin DA, and he said that because the killings and bone collection were all in Kristen Lindsey’s native Wyoming that it had no bearing on the case. Ridiculous!”
The letter was presumably dismissed by Koehn because the alleged acts of cruelty occurred in Wyoming, placing them outside his jurisdiction.
– Please take steps to verify and retrieve this document from DA Koehn.
On 04/14/15, less than 24 hours before posting the photo of herself displaying a cat with an arrow through its head, Dr. Lindsey commented on Facebook,
“My parents made it to Texas this evening! So we drank celebratory margaritas and then their dog puked on my floor. Guess she had one too many…”
In addition to further exhibiting her lack of concern for animal welfare, this comment establishes jurisdiction, verifying that Dr. Lindsey was in Texas when she killed Tiger the following day.
Not only has Dr. Lindsey engaged in cruelty to animals herself, she has encouraged others to follow suit. As shown above, Dr. Lindsey has publicly displayed brutal disregard for animals on several occasions, and appears to enjoy associating with like-minded people. It’s highly unlikely that these public statements are a series of elaborate hoaxes dating back to at least 2011.
Furthermore, despite DA Koehn’s denial of proof that Tiger is the cat in the notorious photo, the cat has been positively identified as Tiger by at least three people: Olivia Moore, who knew Tiger, Melanie Deaeth of True Blue Animal Rescue, and Amy Hemsell (Tiger’s caretaker.)
Melanie Deaeth confirms Tiger’s identity in the KBTX News interview available at the following link:
Amy Hemsell provided the following video to KBTX News. KBTX published this footage with accompanying text stating that Tiger was the cat killed by Dr. Lindsey.
Amy Hemsell also wrote the following biography of Tiger, which elaborates on the circumstances of his life and death:
– If these verifications are insufficient to satisfy the TBVME, please have the photo analyzed pixel by pixel by a forensic expert in digital photography, not only to establish its authenticity, but also to compare the cat to the numerous photos and video of Tiger readily available online.
There seems to be no doubt that Dr. Lindsey is psychologically unsuited to practice veterinary medicine. The animals that she “treats” are extremely vulnerable, and no one can constantly supervise Dr. Lindsey to ensure she is not harming her patients.
– Dr. Lindsey’s evident pleasure in causing animals to suffer at her hands offers sufficient grounds for a mental competency assessment and hearing. Please include this step in your investigation.
It is understood that this highly publicized case brings unique challenges to the Board. However, the Occupations Code, Subchapter D, Sec. 801.151 states in part that:
“(a) The board may adopt rules as necessary to administer this chapter.
(b) The board may adopt rules of professional conduct appropriate to establish and maintain a high standard of integrity, skills, and practice in the veterinary medicine profession.”
– If necessary, please consider appropriate modification of existing regulations to accommodate the unusual circumstances of this case.
For the well-being of animals, and to restore public confidence in Texas veterinary oversight, please revoke the license of Kristen Lindsey at the earliest possible time.
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