Kristen Lindsey should be sued in the civil courts

Kristen Lindsey should be sued in the civil courts under the law of tort for damages including putative damages. If she was sued in the civil courts, the amount of damages would be quite small but the effect would be to publicise the matter through social media and in newspapers which would only be a good thing in the search for justice for Tiger, the cat she wilfully killed with a bow and arrow (see all the Lindsey articles).

Sue lindsey in the civil courts

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

All the discussion on the Internet and on social media has been about obtaining justice for Tiger through the criminal courts. This is essentially a criminal matter therefore she should be prosecuted by the authorities but, as we know, the District Attorney does not want to prosecute her and the grand jury has returned a no-bill for a felony charge (although a lesser charge is still feasible).

Another way of bringing this matter to the courts is for the owner(s) of Tiger to sue Kristen Lindsey. This throws up an immediate problem. The internet has been extremely quiet on the subject of Tiger’s owners. Almost no one has talked about it but where are Tiger’s owners? Was Tiger a stray cat without an owner or did he have a caretaker, the neighbour? If the answer is the latter then why has the owner been so quiet at a time when there has been such a lot of media noise on the subject of this veterinarian who likes to kill animals?

For the time being and for the purposes of this article I will presume that Tiger did have an owner and I will call her Mrs A for the sake of convenience.

Mrs A could make an application to the Small Claims Court in the state of Texas for compensation including putative damages, but not including damages for emotional distress, under the torts of trespass to chattels and/or conversion. There may be other torts in America which apply in this instance of which I’m unaware.

A “tort” is a civil wrong. The concept is that if somebody does something wrong then under the common law the person who is wronged can seek compensation if applicable. The law for these matters is “judge made” meaning over a couple of centuries there have been many cases and judges decisions form the basis of the law.

In CHAPMAN v. DECROW [93 Me. 378, 45 A. 295 (1899)], it was held that, in common law, “a dog is property, for an injury to which an action will lie”. The same must apply to a cat. This means a cat owner can seek compensation if someone hurts their cat.

In Carroll v. Rock [469 S.E.2d 391 (Ga. App., 1996)] punitive damages are recoverable only when a defendant acts maliciously, wilfully, or with a wanton disregard of the rights of others”. Lindsey’s actions indicated a wanton disregard for the rights of her neighbour and this case would apply as a precedent and support an application for putative damages.

It is not possible to seek damages for emotional distress suffered due of the wanton killing of your pet because the Texas Supreme Court ruled against this form of damages in the case of Strickland v. Medlen, [S.W.3d (Tex.2013) (No. 12-0047; 4-5-13)]. Although, in other states where the actions of the defendant are wilful and demonstrate a wanton disregard for the plaintiff then it is possible to claim damages for emotional distress so this aspect of the claim is somewhat in the balance. If I were the owner of Tiger I would claim damages for emotional distress as well even though this is Texas because the circumstances are particularly outrageous.

Tiger a ginger cat
Tiger, the neighbor’s cat who is the cat allegedly killed by Lindsey.

I have briefly covered the concept of making a claim through the courts for compensation for the loss of Tiger through the wanton and wilful act of a young female veterinarian. The key as to whether this is workable is the obvious, namely does Tiger have an owner and will he or she speak up and take action? Another possibility is that the Lindsey family have already spoken to the owner and compensated her although this is unlikely.

An animal rescue group says that the cat who was killed was not feral. It was owned by an elderly couple. This seems very plausible because all the photos of Tiger tell us he was a domestic cat who was cared for. The lack of action by his owners also indicates the owners are elderly and are perhaps somewhat perplexed and confused by the whole thing.

Someone should talk to Tiger’s owners. A good lawyer should work pro bono (for free) to take this to the civil courts. If I was there, I would.

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17 thoughts on “Kristen Lindsey should be sued in the civil courts”

  1. Lets get a Bow and Arrow and shoot her. Poor kitty. I think it’s about time we start giving these things that are suppose to be humans, their just rewards.

  2. Thankyou for your insight Michael. We are hoping the Animal Legal Defense Fund can help out on the criminal issue. Maybe they can advise for a civil case if the owners step up. There is a list floating around of prosecuting animal attorneys in Texas, so that may be a plan as well. Thankyou for keeping this in the spotlight!

  3. Another reason Tiger’s elderly owners may be shying away from media is due to so much hate that can result in the world of Facebook. There are those who will be quick to condemn the owners for allowing Tiger to roam around outside. They’d be made to feel guilty for not having Tiger living inside where Tiger would been safe, and most likely still alive.

    1. Yes, another good point Elisa. It is a great shame that the owners are so silent and inactive on this.

      1. I sit back and watch the bickering on social media. There are so many attacks on people who are only trying to give cats a better life. I’ve heard from a few cat rescuers who have gotten completely out of rescue because the unfounded gossip is killing them. I can only imagine how an elderly couple not accustomed to Facebook abuse would feel.

        1. Social media is both good in many ways and a damn poison at the same time. All of humanity is there and a lot of what humanity does is bloody awful to be honest. For cat rescue Facebook is very good but it gets messed up by trollers and shits.

          I’d love to help this couple. If I lived in Texas I’d be down there knocking on their door! I’d do it for free of course.

        2. Elisa, I agree with everything you said. The treatment Tiger’s owners would receive on Facebook would be brutal. The sad thing is they would be trolled by people who take a lot of pleasure in making others feel bad. They wouldn’t care about Tiger.

    2. Elisa, you are so right! Everyone I have ever spoken with regarding conflicts with a veterinarian, the local public opinion favors the vet and lashes out at the victim. I think it is because for most, when a victim’s family expose their experience with a bad vet, the public finds it terrifying that someone they may know or know of could possibly do what is being accused. It is easier to believe that its the victim’s fault

      1. I agree with you. The reason may go deeper than that. Veterinarians are part of what I call ‘the establishment’. They are pillars of society. When you criticise them when they do wrong it damages society and the establishment. The average person does not want to see that because it scares them. It undermines the fabric of society and therefore they shun people who criticise people who are “the establishment”. That is the natural tendency but is obviously completely wrong. It is simply a gut reaction and not rational.

  4. There is the sad possibility that they are unable to find an attorney that will take the case. I am in Texas as well, and in the past 1 1/2 years, I have had nothing but rejection with little to no legal counseling. I have had no interest in my case in spite of documented evidence such as emails, an official reprimand given by the Vet Board, police call reports indicating deceitful practice, and even actual photographs obtained from an employee that contradicts the vet’s statements. It doesn’t matter because there is no significant money in the case
    Another possibility is that the Lindsey’s attorney may have attempted to intimidate the family. In my case, the vet’s attorney informed the vet board via a letter that allowing my pet to get sick was Cruelty towards and animal and a federal crime in which he intended to pursue. Which of course hasn’t happened. But just the thought that the tactic of taking your pet to the vet will get you accused of crime in order to excuse the vet of their own behavior really shows how detestable this generation of the profession can be.

    1. Good points. I fully understand what you are saying. They need a genuine lawyer who is also a cat lover (!) who genuinely wants to do the right thing rather than make money out of it.

      Of course the small claims court is designed for litigants in person so if they were able they could file an application themselves today.

      1. That is the option I am taking. That is why Tiger has become such an inspiration here. He has shown the serious failings of and the enforcing of accountability from Licensing Bodies for their licensees. He has also shown them that the public is angry

        1. I fully agree with you that this case has shown how angry the public is when justice is not done in respect of animals and particularly companion animals such as the domestic cat. And also there are serious failings in the enforcement of the law with respect to animal abuse. It is not too bad in America and in Europe compared to countries in Asia for example where animal welfare law if it exists is hardly enforced at all.

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