HOUSTON — A Texas sheriff said Saturday that he could not arrest and charge a veterinarian shown in a Facebook post bragging about killing a cat with a bow and arrow unless an investigation determines the picture of the dead cat is genuine.

Austin County Sheriff Jack Brandes said he was disturbed by the image that shows Kristen Lindsey holding up what she described as a dead feral tomcat.

He has assigned two deputies and an investigator to the case.

“I’ve had people calling me from all over the country expressing their concern,” Brandes said. “I just want everybody to know several things. We can’t arrest and charge someone like that based on a picture on the Internet. We have to make sure that is true and correct.

“Anybody can take a computer and alter a photograph.”

The operators of the clinic where Lindsey worked in Brenham, about 100 miles northwest of Houston, said Friday she was fired after they learned of the posting earlier in the week, which has since been removed, along with her Facebook account.

The posting prompted hundreds of phone calls also to the Washington Animal Clinic.

“We are absolutely appalled, shocked, upset, and disgusted by the conduct,” the clinic said on its website. “We do not allow such conduct and we condemn it in the strongest possible manner.”

The results of the investigation will be turned over to the county district attorney, who could present the evidence to a grand jury or issue a warrant.