An Oklahoma horse trainer is facing three counts of felony animal cruelty after multiple horses were found dead on his Sallisaw horse farm, according to the Sequoyah County Sheriff. Robert Dimitt was arrested Monday for the alleged abuse and mutilation of three horses.
The arrest comes after Charlotte Northam, of Ada, tried to pick up two horses from Dimitt for their Kentucky owner. Northam says they received a call that morning from trainer Ty Blackwell. He is the horses’ trainer on paper since Dimitt has been in trouble for horse doping violations, leading to his trainer’s license being revoked.
Northam states, “being banned from the track doesn’t stop them. They just run them under someone else’s name.” Dimitt reportedly uses Tana Pace’s name as well to race his horses.
According to Northam, Blackwell claimed the mare Ashley’s Freight Train died that morning at Blue Ribbon Downs and that he had the body removed. Northam says he became nervous when she told him to get the body back because she was taking it with her.
Northam called Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart who went to Dimitt’s farm. He discovered the AQHA mare had been dead for at least two weeks. “They even tried to burn the body with gas,” Sheriff Lockart says.
Four horse carcasses have been found on Dimitt’s property. “I have been told horses die there every week,” says Sheriff Lockhart. “He is cutting the frogs out of the horses’ feet and it is causing them to founder. He thinks it will make them run faster.”
Foundered and suffering from bedsores is how the mare Awesome Ashley was found after being down for months at Dimitt’s, Northam says. Despite the aggressive veterinary intervention, the coffin bone came through the sole of the hoof. The foot “turned to mush” and the mare was euthanized.
They learned the third horse under his training, Gold Digging Ashley, was in New Mexico. She was found with abscesses in her lung, a partially collapsed lung, and carved-out feet. Despite fighting pneumonia, Northam says, “she is extremely tough and has a strong will to live.”
Gold Digging Ashley, a race winner in her 3-year-old division, has been given a 40% chance of beating the ordeal. “If she survives, she will never race again,” adds Northam.
“It is deadly what he is doing to these horses,” says Sheriff Lockhart. “No time did he seek vet help. He treated them himself.”
“You take your horses in good faith to these trainers and he caused this,” Northam exclaims. “How many horses have to die before people stop covering for this lunatic?”
The sheriff says charges should be filed this week. Dimitt is out on a $25,000 bond. We were unable to reach Dimitt for a comment.
A criminal investigation has reportedly been opened in New Mexico as well.
“If I can help any horse owner not go through this it will be worth it,” Northam says.
Sheriff Lockart is asking for anyone with information regarding Dimitt to call the tip line at 918-404-HELP.