The owner of 39 horses that were seized by Pierce County authorities to protect them from alleged mistreatment has formally declared he wants them back.
Officials said Tuesday that John Diller has filed a petition in Pierce County District Court for the return of the horses. A court hearing scheduled for Nov. 1 at the County-City Building in Tacoma will determine whether Diller can have the animals back under court-imposed conditions or if they will remain under the care of the county’s Animal Control department.
Under state law for such cases, the judge “could grant full, partial or no release of the horses,” said county Auditor Julie Anderson, who oversees Animal Control services. The hearing, she said, will allow Diller “to prove that he can provide adequate care for these horses.”
The county identified Diller for the first time since Animal Control officers removed the horses in September from a farm in Graham. Authorities said the animals were being kept in unhealthy conditions and that criminal charges of animal cruelty were possible.
The horses reportedly are doing well. The county is paying for their care, with the help of donations from the public.