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BLAIRSVILLE (KDKA) — In January 2016, humane officers raided a horse farm along Route 982 in Blairsville.

Back then, officials rescued multiple malnourished and sick horses from the premises.


Monday, humane agents filed charges after another raid in November of this year found 14 horses close to death on the property yet again.

“These horses are very thin to emaciated,” equine veterinarian Dr. Brian Burks said.

Diana Dillion-Smith faces 164 counts of cruelty/neglect of animals plus 38 felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals resulting in serious injury or death.

Investigators found horses without water, shelter or veterinary care.

“These horses all had treatable conditions. If they had been provided proper care, they would be in much better shape than they are right now,” Burks said.

The horses are now under Burks’ care.

Because the animals are now evidence in multiple alleged felonies and need rest, KDKA was not allowed access to them, but Burks says when they first showed up, they were very sick animals.

“It happens, unfortunately. I wish it didn’t happen. They’re really a very noble beast,” Burks said.

There is, however, some good news.

“At this point, we’re starting to see them come around the corner. We’ve been a month since intake and so they are definitely starting to come around, but it’s gonna be a while before they’re fully recovered,” Burks said.

Humane agents say dogs and cats were also found in poor condition on the premises. Several animals were found deceased, including a horse.

Dillon-Smith remains free awaiting her preliminary hearing.

Meanwhile, those caring for the horses say paying vet cost for horses gets pretty expensive and the only way they’ll be covered is through donations.

Donations can be made through