By Bruce A. Smith
Dr. John L. Diller of Graham will be getting some of his horses back from the 39 seized by Pierce County in September, pending the inspection of his stables by animal control. The equines were taken due to their allegedly unsanitary living conditions.
After several delays, Dr. Diller finally had his day in District Court November 9, where he petitioned for the return of his horses. In response, the court issued a qualified decree.
The court ruled that seven horses may be returned pending the pre-release inspection by the county to verify “acceptable feed, shelter and dietary arrangements.”
However, the status of the remaining horses is uncertain. The court issued an expanded ruling which stipulates any addition equines that can be “restored to health within the next ten days” will also be returned. However, exactly what health issues are involved is not clear at this time, and medical clearance will be resting, apparently, with an equine veterinarian from Tacoma Equine Hospital, named Dr. Jodi Chadim.
Nevertheless, the court has decreed that if the medical approval is not granted the remaining horses shall be “forfeited to Pierce County to be adopted out or humanely euthanized.”
In addition, the court further ruled that for any returned horses they may not be subjected to any breeding.
Also, Pierce County Animal Control is granted the authority to make periodic inspections of the stables and horses with at least 24-hour notice.
Further, Dr. Diller must insure that all horses will be under the care of an equine vet, and that Dr. Diller must provide adequate care as defined by Pierce County code. The conditions of the court order are to remain in effect for two years.
Julie Anderson, Pierce County Auditor and chief of animal control services, told the Mountain News this week that Dr. Diller has 30 days in which to appeal this ruling.
Ms. Anderson also acknowledged that one of the 39 horses was humanely euthanized last week, making 31 the number of horses still under county care.
© 2012 Bruce A. Smith