TBAR president, Melanie DeAeth, was interviewed and quoted in this YeePet article, “3 Things Rescue Volunteers Want You to Know About Homeless Pets“. It is a great article that includes many rescue quotes and perspectives. Check it out!
Update! No ruling on the horses. The judge said it has to go to a higher court. He was sympathetic to our cause and even called the case a giant fur ball that hadn’t been handled right since the beginning. The good news is the horses are safe for the now but the bad news is courts and lawyers aren’t cheap. Please help us by donating to our you caring account. If everyone donated $20 we’ll be able to fight this fight till the end.
The judge couldn’t make a ruling on the horses today because it’s not his place to do that. He said it needs to go to a higher court so, our attorney, Zandra Anderson, is going to decide on a new plan of action and let us know what we can do next. We need everyone who read this and wants to support to donate to our you caring account to help us raise the money it’ll cost to do this. Please help, no donation is too small.
Calling all horse lovers: Please come to court in Hempstead, TX on Monday morning, Nov. 21, at 10am to stand up for the starving and abused horses we are fighting to protect. 836 Austin St, Hempstead, TX
34 horses were seized by law enforcement in July 2015 and turned over to True Blue Animal Rescue to rehabilitate and take care of until a judge could decide on the case. Flash forward 16 months and the county wants to return 7 of them to the owner rather than have the case and evidence presented in court. We believe the horses have the right to their day in court so at our request we will share their side in court on Monday. Please be there to show the judge that we stand strong for the horses.
Share with other horse lovers. We need to give these 34 horses a voice! Without us they don’t stand a chance.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Horses Get Their Day In Court
True Blue Animal Rescue vs Waller County
On July 10, 2015, 34 cruelly treated horses were seized from Kathie Digilio from her property. Felony charges have been against Ms. Digilio regarding the horses which are pending.
True Blue Animal Rescue (TBAR) was requested by Waller County to care for the horses. True Blue Animal Rescue is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping abused and neglected animals. As part of this mission they support law enforcement by taking in animals that need to be removed from a neglectful or abusive situation. TBAR has been caring for the 34 horses since they were seized now 15 months ago.
On September 2, 2016, the Justice Court entered an Order of Disposition that all 34 horses were cruelly treated. However, the Order also included the return of 7 of these horses to Ms. Digilio, her pick. Three horses were supposed to be transferred to a buyer who allegedly bought them before the seizure in 2015. The 7 horses picked by Ms. Digilio are all mares. Two of the three horses that were supposed to have been purchased before the seizure are stallions (one still a colt). The rest of the horses, 24 of them, were awarded to TBAR.
Pursuant to an agreement between Ms. Digilio and Waller County, TBAR was to be reimbursed only a fraction of the cost to care for the 34 horses. TBAR was not a party to this agreement.
On October 3, 2016, TBAR filed an injunction against Waller County in the district court challenging the return of horses to Ms. Digilio and the alleged buyer, and is seeking to be fully reimbursed for the care given to the 34 horses. On the same day TBAR filed suit, a “Supplemental Order” was issued by the Justice Court that states the 24 horses awarded to TBAR were “unintentionally mistreated.” Seven horses were awarded to Ms. Digilio and 3 to the alleged buyer as stated above in the “supplement”.
The injunction filed by TBAR was granted on October 6, 2016. A hearing on the injunction has been set for November 21, 2016. TBAR is represented by Ms. Zandra Anderson, a trial attorney specializing in animal law. With her animal law knowledge and strength of fortitude True Blue Animal Rescue knows they are offering the horses the best chance possible.
TBAR is thankful for all of its volunteers who have rehabilitated these horses back to good health. TBAR remains committed to the welfare of all 34 horses. TBAR appreciates that there will likely be many questions about these turn of events. However, we will avoid further comment due to the pending litigation that we hope is swiftly resolved.
True Blue Animal Rescue has reviewed all court documents for the Waller County horse neglect case The State of Texas VS Kathie Digilio. We are working diligently to make sure all the horses in our care are and will remain safe and well cared for. Anything less is unacceptable. Please review the attached documents and direct any questions you might have to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
These are court documents from the Waller County case and are public record.
- Agreement of Kathie Digilio and the Waller County District Attorney’s Office
- Final Order (PDF)
- State’s Motion to Release Property for Seizure Hearing
By Amy Hemsell
September 2, 2016
Hempstead, TX – Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Judge Charles Karisch read the final decision in the civil matter for the 34 horses that were seized last year on July 10, 2015 due to neglect. The horses were seized from a property owned by Dr. Kathy Digilio, DVM in response to complaints by neighbors. The Waller County Sheriff’s Department requested the assistance of True Blue Animal Rescue with the seizure. The horses were seized and placed at caring foster homes through True Blue Animal Rescue & have remained in their care for almost 14 months while awaiting an outcome. All the horses have received much needed veterinary care, food, rehabilitation, and love.
Judge Karisch ordered that before any horses are released, Dr. Digilio pay True Blue Animal Rescue $30,000 for the care her horses have received by veterinarians and foster homes, no longer make appeals in the civil matter for the 34 horses. Dr. Ben Buchanan with Brazos Valley Equine Hospital is to inspect the property and make sure it is clear of debris, parasites, salmonella, and livable conditions for horses. True Blue Animal Rescue can have a veterinary of their choice go the same day as Dr. Buchanan to do an inspection as well. Dr. Digilio was ordered not to breed or acquire any more horses than the 7 she will be allowed to have back. She has free choice as to the 7 she wishes to pick from out of the 34. She will be regularly evaluated & checked on for the living conditions of the horses. If at any time they are not cared for and she does not abide by the judge’s orders the horses will be seized again.
We want to give a big “Thank You” to Vital Essentials for donating to TBAR through their VE Giving Back program! It’s great companies like them that allow us to not only rescue and care for animals, but to feed them the best possible food to help them recover and become healthy!
The ASPCA has awarded TBAR a $15,000 grant which will allow us to take in neglected horses that were ordered removed from their homes. The case is ongoing, but without support from organizations like the ASPCA, TBAR and our foster homes would not be able to step up and help law enforcement and these poor animals in need.
Thank you, ASPCA!
True Blue Animal Rescue hosts a page called RAIN Networking. We use that page to network Rescue Animals In Need. That means they haven’t been officially accepted into TBAR because they don’t have a foster home so we ‘network for a home’ We do pay for spay / neuter if they aren’t fixed but we list them before that’s done to find a foster or adopter quickly. We post with the contact for the person who has the animal so we don’t always hear back to find out if they found a home. This week we did hear that these two DID find homes. Networking works and we can use your help. Like our RAIN Networking Facebook page and share to help our networking pets find homes!
Despite all the rain in Washington Co some of us are warm and dry and thankful for what we have. Diva and her baby, Prince, along with all the other animals at True Blue Animal Rescue are safe. We have plenty of feed and dry land and our electricity is back on so we have water now too! We are praying for everyone who is not as lucky as we are. Please join us by extending a hand to those who have lost their homes and belongings. We have stopped and handed gift cards to those who have lost everything. Give where you can.
Have you ever wondered how many horse rescues there were in the country? Check out this very cool interactive map showing where they are!