Dozens of horses had to be rounded up, and examined by a veterinarian at the Waller County ranch of another veterinarian, Kathie Digilio, D.V.M., who is charged with felony animal cruelty, based on the condition of her horses. Investigators say of the 36, some are emaciated, some have hoof problems.
This problem is nothing new. Digilio has been under investigation more than once before, and this investigation began more than a year ago, a fact that her own lawyer confirms.
Seizing this number of horses is not easy. Volunteers with “True Blue Animal Rescue” have taken them to various homes where they will receive appropriate veterinary care and food. Volunteer Melanie Deaeth says “It’s been a constant many years of neglect.”
District Attorney Elton Mathis said some of the allegations posted on social media about the horses were not true, while others turned out to be valid, and that was just one of the many challenges he faced in this case.
“This has been a very difficult issue,” says Mathis, “she is a veterinarian and she is also disabled.”
Mathis said he brought in three horse experts, from Texas A&M, to assist in the investigation. Initially, they said conditions were not optimal, but not bad enough to take the horses away. Since then, Mathis said, new evidence emerged, “These horses aren't being treated in an appropriate manner,” he said.
Digilio's attorney, Rocket Rosen, disagrees. “They had no reason to arrest her. We corrected the problem those horses are healthy and strong. They eat well, they drink well, they have hay. There is no probable cause to confiscate these horses.”
Digilio is expected to turn herself in by Monday. Her lawyer promises to have the horses given back to her.