A former local veterinarian is charged with shooting her husband outside their Readfield home Wednesday, seriously wounding the 81-year-old man in what authorities described as the latest in a series of domestic disputes.

Sally Ann Earl-Costello, 61, shot her husband, Hugh Costello, outside their home at 318 Sturtevant Hill Road, according to Capt. Chris Cowan of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office. Costello was taken by ambulance to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

Earl-Costello was charged with elevated aggravated assault and was being held without bail at the Kennebec County jail in Augusta.

Kennebec County Sheriff Ken Mason said Wednesday that Earl-Costello was cooperating with investigators.

It wasn’t immediately clear where Costello was wounded or what type of weapon was used. The sheriff said Costello was shot as he sat outside on the deck at his home and that he was recovering.

Mason said authorities, including the sheriff’s office and Maine State Police, had been to the residence numerous times for domestic disturbances. Deputies obtained and executed a search warrant and have recovered a firearm believed to have been used in the incident.

Sally Ann Earl-Costello holds an active license as a veterinarian that is due to expire on Sept. 30, 2019, according to the state Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation website. It appears she was first licensed in Maine in September 1999 and attended veterinary school at the University of Georgia and served in the Coast Guard.

Charmaine Brown, a co-owner of Annabessacook Veterinary Clinic in Monmouth, confirmed that Earl-Costello was a former veterinarian at the clinic but hasn’t worked there “for years.”

Records at the Capital Judicial Center describe one domestic violence arrest from this year and some apparent mental health issues involving Earl-Costello.

For a while last winter, Earl-Costello lived in an unheated camper-trailer on Walker Road in Readfield, according to troopers who interviewed her there on Feb. 7 after her husband reported that she was suicidal, according to court records.

An affidavit by Cpl. Diane Vance of the state police says Earl-Costello called her husband and “told him that she wanted him to come and get the dogs and that she didn’t want to go on.”

Earl-Costello told police they had been married for 35 years and that she was an insomniac and depressed, and on medication but not for depression.

Vance’s affidavit and a separate one filed by Trooper Travis Luce indicated Earl-Costello’s behavior and mental state fluctuated when they talked to her and that she reported being fearful of her husband. “because he was bigger, strong and not mentally altogether.”

When investigators told her that Costello used a cane and “appeared somewhat feeble,” Earl-Costello told them it was to gain sympathy.

Earl-Costello pleaded guilty to a domestic violence assault stemming from an incident Jan. 11 in Readfield. Hugh Costello was listed as the victim.

She was placed on deferred disposition Feb. 2, prohibited from using alcohol and illegal drugs and ordered to undergo substance abuse and psychological evaluation and treatment if needed.

However, the state moved to terminate that agreement 11 days later, saying there were indications she had violated it by drinking alcohol on Feb. 7.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

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Twitter: @betadams