In court documents both are being charged with 15 counts of cruelty to an animal as “A” misdemeanors.
On Monday, August 25th the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department and the Humane Society were notified of a large number of animals locate at the 11th Road address that were without adequate food, shelter or water.
On August 28th Ron Richey, an Animal Health Specialist and Dr. Bruce Lamb both from the Indiana State Board of Animal Health met with Deputy Les McFarland at the property. While there, a neighbor told them Brian and Stacy Watts were in Texas and had been gone for a number of days. The trio could see several of the horses from the road and determined they were thin. Officer McFarland was able to make cell phone contact with Mr. Watts who indicated several people were looking after the horses in his absence.
With the property owner’s permission they entered the property and found 22 horses and 2 ponies in various dry lots, pens and stalls. They all had water although it was not clean. There were remnants of round bales of very poor quality hay and no grass or other food evident. The horses’ body conditions ranges from a 1 to 5 on the Henneke Body Condition Scoring System point scale.
In a back lot on the property a Paint was located down on her side with evidence she had been down for some time. The horse was so week she could not stand and after making contact with Watts permission was given to euthanize the horse. 16 of the 22 horses scored 3.5 or below indicating there were critically emaciated.
On Saturday, August 29th Officer McFarland spoke with Brian Watts who told him, “he made a mistake in caring for the animals since he was having financial problems and he was going to complete a document signing the animals over to the Marshall County Humane Society in order for them to be placed in homes that would adequately care for them. All animals, 22 horses, 2 ponies, 3 goats, 3 dogs, 4 cats and 3 chickens were placed in safe homes.
Judge Dean Colvin has issued warrants for the arrest of Brian and Stacy Watts with their cash bonds already set at $5,000. When asked if the county would extradite, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tammy Napier said, “We have active warrants and fully intend on aggressively prosecuting the case to its end. They will be located.”