02 July 2003

Can Bill Frist be Prosecuted for Animal Cruelty?

Maureen Dowd's New York Times column today makes reference to Senator Frist's so-called compassionate conservatism.

There's a serial cat killer on the loose in the West. Has anyone checked Bill Frist's alibi?

In his 1989 memoir, Dr. Frist, the heart surgeon and Senate majority leader, confessed that at Harvard Medical School, he used to adopt stray cats at shelters, take them home and slice and dice them for practice.

"It was, of course, a heinous and dishonest thing to do," he wrote. "And I was totally schizoid about the entire matter. By day, I was little Billy Frist, the boy who lived on Bowling Avenue in Nashville and had decided to become a doctor because of his gentle father and a dog named Scratchy. By night, I was Dr. William Harrison Frist, future cardiothoracic surgeon, who was not going to let a few sentiments about cute, furry little creatures stand in the way of his career. In short, I was going a little crazy."

Going a little crazy or not, Frist deliberately mislead Boston-area animal shelters about his intentions in adopting kittens, and then killed them in horrible ways. Since these vivisections (if the kittens were still alive) or dissections (if he killed them first) did not take place in research labs, I assume they would constitute animal cruelty.

So my question is, Can Frist still be prosecuted in the state of Massachusetts for animal cruelty? Is there a statute of limitations on that sort of thing? Any lawyers out there who read this and have some insight, do drop me an email at rgoetz at fas dot harvard dot edu.


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