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Texas A&M veterinarian charged with cruelty to livestock
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Texas A&M veterinarian charged with cruelty to livestock

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A Texas A&M associate professor of large animal surgery was recently indicted on a cruelty to livestock charge.

Ashlee Watts

Watts

Ashlee Watts, 44, who is a licensed veterinarian and an equine orthopedic surgeon at Texas A&M, was booked at the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office on Monday on a charge of cruelty to livestock. She was released later that day after posting $10,000 bail.

The incident that led to the charge happened in December 2019, according to court records.

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“This indictment stems from her efforts to save the life of a horse who was referred to her in critical condition,” Jim James, Watts’ attorney, said in a statement. “Dr. Watts was never given notice of the grand jury meetings nor given a chance to tell the grand jury her side of the story. It is our belief that no law enforcement agency from Brazos County participated in the presentation of the grand jury.”

James said in a phone interview with The Eagle that he hopes "the truth comes out. She was trying to save the life of a horse.”

Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks said in a statement released Monday that she called for an investigation and a review of internal reporting procedures for such incidents after learning of the allegations against Watts on Friday.

“Animal health, well-being and passionate care are central to the mission of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences," she said in the statement. "The College is fully cooperating with the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and local authorities as they examine this case.”

Cruelty to livestock could be prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor or a state jail felony, depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime.

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