A Pierce County horse veterinarian allegedly abused a colt while castrating it, and now he’s had his license suspended because of it.
The state Veterinary Board of Governors took the action against Sean Michael Victor Tuley, who practices farm and ranch veterinary medicine.
“He allegedly punched, whipped and kicked the colt while shouting obscenities,” according to the state Department of Health. Tuley is also charged with violations of care and documentation.
Tuley denies the charges. He told The News Tribune he was forceful with the colt but not abusive in the 2018 incident in Chimacum, near Port Townsend.
“Wild stallions are difficult to control,” Tuley said Saturday. “He tried to rise up and strike me.”
The horse was 500 to 600 pounds, he said.
“A horse can kill a person, easily,” Tuley said.
Normally, Tuley uses a sedative on an animal during a castration procedure, but he said he was unable to insert the needle into the horse’s jugular vein due to the colt’s wild nature.
“He was full of testosterone,” he said. “I tried to exhaust him.”
Hitting a horse is the last thing he wants to do, he said.
“I’ve only had to punch one horse in my entire life. It was a life or death situation,” Tuley said. “I broke my hand doing it.”
Tuley also allegedly shouted obscenities during the 2018 procedure and placed the colt and its owner in harm’s way, the health department said.
Tuley doesn’t deny the obscenity charges. He needed to use forceful language even if the horse would not have understood the words. But, its owner apparently did.
Further legal action is pending, according to the health department.
Tuley cannot practice as a veterinarian in Washington until the charges are resolved. He has 20 days to respond and to request a hearing.
Tuley said he will request a hearing.