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Westmoreland

Derry sisters charged with neglecting emaciated horses, dogs, cats

Renatta Signorini
| Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, 11:39 a.m.

A Derry Township woman who had animal cruelty charges against her dropped in 2016 is now accused of the same after humane agents seized emaciated and sick horses, dogs and cats from her property in November.

Faun Dillon was arraigned this week on more than 200 charges, including aggravated cruelty to animals and neglect. Her sister, Diana Dillon-Smith, 64, of Derry Borough, is facing the same allegations.

Both are free on $10,000 unsecured bond.

“They’re not to own any more animals while they’re on bond,” said Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Calisti.

Dillon-Smith was permitted to keep two dogs, but the animals must have welfare checks from humane agents, Calisti said.

Two people contacted All But Furgotten Humane Rescue in North Huntingdon to complain about poor conditions for animals at Dillon’s Route 982 property, according to criminal complaints. On Nov. 27, humane officers served a search warrant and found 15 horses, a donkey, eight dogs and as many as a dozen cats and kittens.

Urine, feces and debris covered the ground and floors where the animals were found, authorities said.

Many horses were emaciated. One was dead. Three were in a barn, and the others were in a field and yard. One horses had frostbitten ears and swollen feet. Another struggled to breathe, agents said.

Some of the rescued horses have since died, Calisti said.

Three dogs were locked in a barn loft, with one in an outdoor kennel. Officers reported finding four more in a locked bedroom in Dillon’s home. Some of the dogs were emaciated and infested with fleas. The cats had eye and nasal discharge, according to the complaint.

The surviving animals are in veterinary or foster care, Calisti said.

Dillon’s attorney denied the allegations. Dillon-Smith’s attorney declined to comment.

Similar charges against Dillon were dropped in November 2016 after the arresting agent died. Three horses that had been seized from her that year were returned. A fourth horse died after being rescued, and a fifth horse was found dead on Dillon’s property.

The animals were all thin or emaciated and had other health problems, a veterinarian testified at her preliminary hearing.

It’s unclear if any of the horses involved in November’s seizure are the same horses from 2016.

Preliminary hearings are set for Jan. 30.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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