According to a June 27 report by AVMA@Work, there are alleged discrepancies in the findings of the Austin County District Attorney’s Office, which led to the Grand Jury deciding not to file charges against Kristen Lindsey, a veterinarian practicing in Brenham, Texas. The main point being the AVMA wasn’t consulted for their opinion on the case of the killing of a community cat named Tiger.
“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.”
The above statement suggests the District Attorney got together with the AVMA and discussed the case and whether Tiger was cruelly or humanely killed. To decide this could mean the difference in charges being filed or not against Lindsey.
This isn’t what happened at all.
“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.”
The AVMA goes on to say that based on the viral photograph showing Lindsey holding up the cat believed to be Tiger, it’s impossible to know whether Tiger died immediately or whether he died a slow death at the someone sworn to help companion animals.
AVMA does have a policy on how they address stray or feral cats. suggesting they be humanely captured, with placement in homes when appropriate, and to practice management of feral colonies through programs such as trap-neuter-return (TNR). Shooting a cat with a bow and arrow isn’t considered an option as a humane method to kill.
Since this bit of information and been turned around to fit the needs of the Austin County District Attorneys’ case as to whether or not Lindsey should be charged, there’s the possibility more information and statements are incorrect.
One would think with such a high profile case as this, the Texas AVMA would have been consulted to bring a professional opinion into the case as to whether Tiger died using a humane method.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund has now taken up the fight to bring justice to Tiger, and have requested the Austin County District Attorney’s Office turn over their files on the case.
Not that this will change the outcome, but it will give a fresh set of eyes to examine all of the evidence and see if anything was missed. Should the District Attorney’s Office fail to turn over those records (which they have the right to do by Texas law), it will leave animal advocates for Tiger wondering what else has been overlooked in this tragic case.
Your comments on this new development are welcome.