American Veterinary Medical Association Not Happy With Austin County DA’s Office

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SCHAUMBURG, Illinois - The American Veterinary Medical Association is not happy that it was mentioned in reference to an Austin County grand jury’s decision not to charge the former Brenham vet who bragged about killing a cat with a bow and arrow.

On Wednesday (June 24), the grand jury returned with a "no bill" against Kristen Lindsey.

Lindsey posted a picture on Facebook in April of her holding the cat up with an arrow through its head. That photo cost Lindsey her job in Brenham and sparked outrage from animal rights activists.

In Lindsey's post, she noted that she thought it was a feral cat, but some believe it was a missing cat named Tiger.

According to a press release, the Austin County District Attorney’s Office says there was not enough evidence to prove the cat was killed in a cruel manner, where/when it was killed or to even confirm the identity of the cat.

That same press release cited the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Guidelines for Euthanasia.

“First, the American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines state that physical method of killing animals such as a gunshot or bolt to the head can be humane when done correctly. (AVMA 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 (AVMA 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 AVMA says it was surprised by the reference in the press release because it was not consulted or asked to provide information regarding the Lindsey case. The AVMA also says the District Attorney’s application of the Euthanasia Guidelines was seriously flawed because an arrow is neither a captive bolt nor a gunshot.

AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, Section 1.3.3 (Page 45)

Penetrating captive bolt — Use of a penetrating captive bolt by trained personnel in a controlled laboratory setting has been described as an effective and humane method of euthanasia for rabbits and dogs. The bolt must be placed directly against the skull; therefore, safe and effective application of the technique may be facilitated by pre-euthanasia sedation or anesthesia. Penetrating captive bolt is not recommended as a routine approach to the euthanasia of dogs, cats, or other small companion animals, and should not be used when other methods are available and practicable.

Gunshot — Gunshot should only be performed by highly skilled personnel trained in the use of firearms (eg, animal control and law enforcement officers, properly trained veterinarians) and only in jurisdictions that allow for legal firearm use. A method acceptable with conditions, use of gunshot may be appropriate in remote areas or emergency situations in which withholding death by gunshot will result in prolonged, unrelieved pain and suffering of the animal or imminent danger to human life. Protocols for ensuring a humane death by gunshot have been described and preferred anatomical sites for use of gunshot for dogs and cats are provided in Figures 8 and 9, respectively. Pre-euthanasia sedation (eg, medication added to food) is recommended, whenever possible, for cats since they may be difficult to shoot humanely. Gunshot is not recommended as a routine approach to the euthanasia of dogs, cats, or other small companion animals, and should not be used when other methods are available and practicable.

A bow and arrow is not one of the AVMA’s recommended approaches for the euthanasia of cats. But, the AVMA says it cannot determine if the cat in the Lindsey case died immediately based on the Facebook photo alone.

As of Friday (June 26), the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has not reached a decision about the future of Lindsey’s license to practice veterinary medicine in Texas. The AVMA says the state board was likely awaiting the grand jury’s decision before making a ruling. While the grand jury has to weigh criminal charges based on evidence, the AVMA says the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Judicial Council both factor in the ethics when deciding whether to take disciplinary action.