COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - A Texas A&M University equine veterinarian was indicted last week and arrested this week on an animal cruelty charge in Brazos County, KBTX has confirmed.
Ashlee Watts, 44, of College Station turned herself in to authorities Monday and was booked into the Brazos County Detention Center.
She was released on a $10,000 bond following her booking, according to online jail records.
According to an indictment obtained Monday night by KBTX, Watts is accused of using what’s known as a cattle prod excessively on a horse named Allie.
The indictment states she did “intentionally and knowingly torture a livestock animal” and what she’s accused of doing is not a generally accepted and otherwise lawful form of conduct involving livestock animals.
Watts’s attorney, Jim James, tells KBTX his client is innocent and he looks forward to defending her in court.
“Her indictment stems from her efforts to save a horse that was in critical condition when it was brought to her,” said James. “She received no notice of a grand jury meeting nor was she given the opportunity to share her side of what happened. I’m extremely proud to represent Dr. Watts who is a well-respected veterinarian with nationwide respect at Texas A&M University and Cornell University.”
According to online records, the alleged offense occurred in December of 2019.
Watts is an equine veterinarian for Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. The university on Monday responded to news of the indictment and arrest by releasing the following statement from President Dr. Kathy Banks:
“After learning of these concerning allegations Friday, I called for an immediate inquiry into the incident, as well as a review of our internal reporting processes for such incidents. Animal health, wellbeing, and passionate care are central to the mission of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. The College is fully cooperating with the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and local authorities as they examine this case.”
KBTX has reached out to Brazos County officials to request a copy of the indictment.
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