After what appears to be a shocking act of cruelty in Austin County, Texas was revealed last week, we have some updates and clarifications to provide as the cruelty investigation continues:
The Austin County Sheriff’s Office’s on-going investigation is the only way to hold the perpetrator accountable under the law, and Alley Cat Allies supports their investigation. They are aware of the photo and Facebook posts that appear to show an act of cruelty, but those items do not provide sufficient evidence to file criminal charges. Authorities need physical evidence or testimony from residents with firsthand knowledge of the incident. Alley Cat Allies’ offer of a $7,500 reward aims to assist the investigation by encouraging local residents to provide additional evidence, specifically physical evidence or firsthand accounts of the incident.
The person of interest in this story has not been arrested or convicted, and remains innocent until proven guilty. But the idea that a veterinarian, the very person we trust to help animals, would post such a picture and her comments is deeply concerning. We have filed a formal complaint with the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners requesting that the veterinarian’s license be revoked.
Here are some ways you can help get justice for the cat killed in Austin County, Texas:
- Allow the Austin County Sheriff’s Office to focus on the investigation. Do contact them if you have physical evidence or firsthand knowledge or testimony to provide about the incident. Do not continue to contact them about the Facebook post (they have seen them!) or threaten any parties involved in the investigation, including the person of interest. Extra calls, emails, and threats divert time and resources away from finding the evidence they need to move this case forward.
- Help get the word out. Share our posts through your social networks and via email. The more people who are aware of the issue and speak up on behalf of cats the better. You are their voice!
- Start a conversation with your local veterinarian. Share our Veterinary Resource Center so they are up-to-date on the latest information and protocols for cats, and ask them to show their support for Trap-Neuter-Return by signing our pledge.
- Make your community feline-friendly. Our information on how to Change Your Community will help you get started.
Together we can make a difference. Thank you for all your support!
UPDATE – April 21, 2015: The Austin County Sheriff’s Office has concluded their investigation. The case has been transferred to the Austin County District Attorney for the filing of charges under Texas Penal Code 42.092, Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals. Good news for the progress of this case! Next, the District Attorney will review the case and determine whether to issue a charge, and if so, what charge it should be. We will keep you posted!