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GRAHAM, Wash. The property owner who had 39 horses seized by Pierce County officials in September will face criminal charges.

The prosecutor s office has charged John Diller with ten counts of animal cruelty.

Investigators said some of the horses were found living in their own feces.

Animal control officers said others were kept in dark areas of his property.

Diller, a family doctor who has a private practice in Puyallup, will enter not guilty pleas when he is scheduled to be arraigned later this month, according to his attorney.

Diller s attorney, Lance Hester, said his client loved his horses and spent time and money caring for them. Hester said he and Diller were disappointed when they learned about the criminal charges earlier this week.

Eight of the 39 seized horses have been euthanized. Diller retained custody of 11. The remaining 20 are being adopted out by Pierce County. Nine remain up for adoption.

Anyone interested in adopting one of the horses, or donating funds to help pay for the food and care of the animals can go to www.piercecountywa.org/pets.

Caring for the horses has cost Pierce County about $62,000.

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