Why Kristen Lindsey should be put on trial for her alleged crime

The decision by the Austin County District Attorney not to charge and prosecute Dr Kristen Lindsey for her alleged crime of animal cruelty under the Texas penal code is wrong (see posts on Lindsey).

Justice for Tiger
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Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

In this article – I’ll try and keep this as brief as possible – I explain why the decision is wrong.

It appears to me that there are two central reasons why the DA did not decide to charge Lindsey:

  1. There was a lack of hard evidence that the alleged crime took place in Texas and therefore they did not have jurisdiction over the crime.
  2. The act of shooting the cat with a bow and arrow did not constitute animal cruelty because the DA’s office suggest that the animal was, in effect, euthanised because the cat’s killing was humane as it did not cause any pain. The DA office referred to the AVMA guidelines on euthanasia of animals to justify this explanation (see below).

“First, the American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines state that physical methods of killing animals such as a gunshot or bolt to the head can be humane when done correctly. (A.V.M.A. Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, 2013 Ed., at 11-12). When performed properly, the animal may exhibit involuntary movements but is unaware and unable to experience pain. (A.V.M.A. Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, 2013 Ed., at 16). Evidence is insufficient, based on the online photograph alone, to determine whether the animal was killed in a cruel manner.”

Both of these arguments are weak. They are so weak that they do not justify a failure to charge and prosecute Lindsey.

The Killing Was Euthanasia?

It has come to our notice that the District Attorney’s office did not consult with the American Veterinary Medical Association over the decision that the killing was not cruel. The AVMA issued a notice which explains their position:

“We were surprised by the District Attorney’s reference to the AVMA and our Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition in conveying the June “no bill” decision of the Austin County grand jury in the Kristen Lindsey case. The AVMA was neither consulted nor asked to provide information regarding the case, and we were not aware that the Guidelines would be presented in this way. Based on the statements in the press release, the District Attorney’s application of the Euthanasia Guidelines was seriously flawed. An arrow is neither a captive bolt nor a gunshot.”

What they are saying, quite positively but indirectly, is that the District Attorney’s decision not to charge Lindsey for this reason is patently incorrect. Therefore, the decision should be set aside. It should be ignored and in which case the photo alone and Lindsey’s online admission is enough to charge her.

The Crime Took Place outside of Texas

I’ve discussed this in an earlier post. On commonsense principles it is highly probable that the crime took place in Texas because Lindsey was working in Texas at the Washington Animal Clinic in Brenham, Texas at the time and we have to assume lived within a reasonable distance of her workplace and in any case her address can be easily ascertained (why hasn’t it?). The photograph of her holding up the cat with an arrow through his head was taken by Lindsey’s mother who watched the incident and their address can also be easily ascertained as can their whereabouts at the time in question. No one has been questioned but everything points to a simple fact that it took place in Brenham, Texas.

The burden of proof required in a criminal prosecution is “beyond reasonable doubt”. Most of us know that. This is a high standard but not an impossibly high standard. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” means that the proof is of a convincing character to the point where a jury would be willing to rely upon it. The facts that we know (even without proper police work) could quite possibly pass this standard of proof.

The District Attorney’s decision to charge and prosecute does not have to be made on the basis of the criminal standard of proof. There just has to be a realistic prospect of conviction. In my opinion this standard is met based upon the arguments above and therefore it is quite clearly wrong not to prosecute or at least the police need to do more work on this case and collect in further evidence. A proper decision can them be made but I’d foresee that any further evidence would support the decision to take the matter to trial.


For those who want to check out the relevant law, this is it (as I understand it at 2015):

The Law

{these are extracts}

TEX. PENAL CODE ANN. § 42.092 (2008). Cruelty To Nonlivestock Animals.

Definitions

(2) “Animal” means a domesticated living creature, including any stray or feral cat or dog….

(3) “Cruel manner” includes a manner that causes or permits unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering…

Offence

(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

(2) without the owner’s effective consent, kills, administers poison to, or causes serious bodily injury to an animal…

You can see more here.


Acknowledgement: My thanks to Elisa Black-Taylor of Examiner.com and her article.

12 thoughts on “Why Kristen Lindsey should be put on trial for her alleged crime”

  1. Michael, there’s a problem with your second supposition. As pointed out by a vet on FB, and if one stops and notes, Tiger was not dead As she dangled him cruelly by the arrow she shot through his head at close range. If Tiger had been dead is forelimbs would’ve been dangling limp by his side. If you have ever had the need to scrub a cat that is what their limbs look like.

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  2. Also, Thank you for bringing attention to this issue. Staying on top of this, is exactly what is needed, in this case.

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      • I wonder if the police checked the original photograph for GPS location?

        I’d read that this particular D.A. has a poor record when it comes to prosecuting animal cruelty cases. The shoddy excuses for not prosecuting are an insult to the public’s intelligence. Kudos to the AVMA for publicly rejecting the D.A.’s euthansia argument.

        I just hope the ALDF are allowed to review the case files. If they are able to proceed with a prosecution, I’m sure the public donations would come rolling in.

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  3. I wasn’t surprised at all by their findings, but do they really think the public is that dense? Their conclusions made no sense at all. They can’t even, have investigated it.. They obviously don’t care. I was hoping that things had changed, but again, was not surprised they hadn’t. Never talked to owners, comment from owners? Are they even elderly? The kitty seem to be riding around on the lawnmower. Very confusing. Absolutely should not be a veterinarian! I thought or assumed, veterinarians came with a natural compassion for all animals.

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    • They can’t even have investigated it.

      This is correct. They don’t want to. They want to kick it into the long grass or bury it. They want it to go away.

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  4. The hate mail that I’m reading is out of this world. My opinion is that this young sociopath needs to have a bodyguard or she won’t make it back to court.

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  5. At the very least Lindsey should stand trial because she enjoys killing or trying to kill animals and she deliberately went into the veterinary field. That is very disturbing to me, like a child molester finding work at a day care center in order to get to his victims. I realize she will probably never see the inside of a court room for this. Society doesn’t hold cats in very high regard.

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  6. It is going to be our personal pleasure to follow this woman and discredit her every chance we get. Any veterinary off who hires her is crazy, any one who would let her see their animal is double crazy. She does not deserve a career making a living off of animals.

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    • I totally agree with you jan!

      She should have her license revoked permanently, and yes, I fervently hope that any veterinary clinic must “vet” her to see what she has done and boot her out the door.

      Unfortunately that Grand Jury hasn’t a clue about the veterinary profession and their vow to do “no harm”. It’s too bad that no one sitting on that jury was aware enough to convince the others that she should be indicted.

      What a travesty of justice!!

      Reply

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