"Today, Tennessee Walking Horses are known throughout the industry
as the breed that shows abused and tortured horses."

~ Jim Heird, Ph.D., Do Right By The Horse, February 2010

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity,
you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

NEWS - H.R. 1518 Moved to C&E Committee Subcommittee - New Letters Needed!; Farm Bill Update; Justice Blog Entry Concerning Animal Abuse

H.R. 1518, or the PAST Act, has been moved to the Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee entitled Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.  Here's the list of the subcommittee members that we need new letters and calls for to support HR 1518.  PLEASE NOTE: Marsha Blackburn is in with the Lickers, so writing to her might not be helpful.

Please remember: calls are more effective than emails!  However, contacting them through all channels is always a good idea!  We've linked the person's contact page to their name.  A ** means there are multiple offices listed on the contact page.  If you want to contact them through their page or even visit their office, use the zip code provided when asked for it.  If it asks you for an address, use the zip code and find a local cemetery or library as your address.  The computer certainly doesn't know the difference.  MelissaData is a great place to look up more information about addresses and zip codes.

Chairman: Lee Terry (R-NE)  (402) 397-9944, zip 68154
Vice Chairman: Leonard Lance (R-NJ)  (908) 518-7733, zip 07090**
John Barrow (D-GA)  (912) 489-4494, zip 30458**
Joe Barton (R-TX)  (972) 875-8488, zip 75119-7489**
Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)  (727) 232-2921, zip 34689-1299**
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)  (931) 503-0391, zip 37043-5399**
G.K. Butterfield (D-NC)  (919) 908-0164, zip 27701-3204**
Donna M. Christensen (D-VI)  (340) 778-5900, zip 00840**
John D. Dingell (D-MI)  (313) 278-2936, zip 48124-2429**
Brett Guthrie (R-KY)  (270) 842-9896, zip 42101-1217**
Gregg Harper (R-MS)  (601) 823-3400, zip 39601-3341**
Bill Johnson (R-OH)  (740) 376-0886, zip 45750-3123**
Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)  (815) 431-9271, zip 61350
Billy Long (R-MO)  (417) 889-1800, zip 65804-4583**
Jim Matheson (D-UT)  (801) 486-1236, zip 84008
David McKinley (R-WV)  (304) 232-3801, zip 26003**
Jerry McNerney (D-CA)  (925) 754-0716, zip 94531-6209**
Pete Olson (R-TX)  (281) 494-2690, zip 77478-4918**
Mike Pompeo (R-KS)  (316) 262-8992, zip 67207
Bobby L. Rush (D-IL)  (773) 224-6500, zip 60619-2304**
John Sarbanes (D-MD)  (410) 295-1679, zip 21401-1907**
Ranking Member: Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)  (773) 506-7100, zip 60640-5660**
Fred Upton (R-MI)  (269) 982-1986, zip 49085-1118**
Henry A. Waxman (D-CA)  (310) 652-3095, zip 90036-4315**
Peter Welch (D-VT)  (802) 652-2450, toll free (888) 605-7270, zip 05401-5206

Feel free to use a link to the FTTWH press package in your emails, or mail one specifically to their office.  And again, the FTTWH press package is free for anyone to use!

Here are the reasons why we need new letters.

First, the supporters of the Farm Bill are scrambling to put it back into Congress to get it voted on again and try to get it passed.  I've copied and pasted the article at the end of this blog post; click here for the full article.  The problem with the Farm Bill is if the King Amendment is included in it, it will give farmers and people who abuse livestock more free rein to do so.  It would hinder investigations into animal abuse, and this will lead to probable health issues concerning the care of food animals.

However, there is still hope.  The Department of Justice had an excellent post on their blog concerning the reasons why we need to be concerned about animal welfare.  Again, I've copied and pasted it below, but click here for the full post.  Specifically, the post talks about a listening session that went on April 30th of this year presented by experts in the field explaining why we need to focus on animal cruelty cases. Their examples are as follows.

...investigators have documented child abuse cases where the perpetrators threatened to kill the child’s pet in order to enforce the child’s silence and compliance.  Surveys of domestic violence shelter residents reveal that batterers sometimes harm or threaten to harm pets as part of their strategy for controlling the behavior of family members.  And research suggests that acts of animal cruelty committed by young people may predict violent behavior in the future.  Intervening to address animal cruelty may be key to changing patterns of conduct for positive long-term effects.

Through raids and criminal prosecutions, we have also learned firsthand that certain forms of animal cruelty – such as dog and cockfighting – can be part of a highly organized interstate criminal industry that not only harms animals, but also threatens public safety.  Dog and cockfighting ventures frequently attract other criminal activities, including drug trafficking, unlawful possession of firearms, illegal gambling, stolen vehicles and property offenses, and child endangerment.

This is an excellent resource that you can send to the subcommittee members.  If I can find the transcript of the listening session, I will post it on the blog.

After stunning defeat, lawmakers scramble to salvage farm bill
By Mike Lillis and Russell Berman
June 22, 2013

Supporters of a five-year farm bill are scrambling to pick up the pieces after the measure went down in stunning defeat in the House.

Thursday's 195-234 vote to kill the $940 billion package blindsided proponents, who were confident of the bill's success and are now struggling in search of a plan to resuscitate it.

GOP leaders say they've made no decisions about the next step, but the heads of the House Agriculture Committee – Reps. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) – spoke Thursday afternoon in an early show that they're still hoping to prevent the need for any short-term extensions of current farm policy.

"We'll figure it out," Peterson said to Lucas just after the vote.

Whether that's possible in the face of a divided House, a recalcitrant GOP conference and the thorny politics surrounding the package, however, is by no means certain.

Farm bills have historically won overwhelming support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. But despite pressure from GOP leaders, 62 Republicans opposed the package Thursday – many more than supporters expected – while only 24 Democrats backed the measure.

The vote was an embarrassing defeat for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), reviving doubts about his decision to consider the bill via regular order and, more broadly, his ability to rally his own troops behind legislation of any significance.

Deflecting those questions, House Republican leaders on Friday continued to blame Democrats for the bill’s failure, accusing Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in particular of undermining support.

"We expected Democrats to produce the votes they promised on a long-negotiated bipartisan measure to get us to conference, rather than Nancy Pelosi using her opposition to common-sense work requirements as an excuse for playing politics," said Rory Cooper, spokesman for Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), "so we haven't decided the next step yet."

Both Pelosi and Peterson said many more in their party would have backed the final product, but two last-minute conservative amendments – one championed by Boehner, the other by Cantor – scared the Democrats away.

"Those two [amendments] cost us a lot of votes," Peterson said Thursday, "and I would guess it didn't get them a damn thing."

Indeed, Pelosi on Wednesday had warned that Democrats would flee if the package became more conservative.

“If they change it on the floor, then all bets are off," she told The Nation.

Cooper said there was “no timetable” for a decision on the way forward for the legislation. The House leaves for a weeklong recess after next week.

A Boehner spokesman referred questions to Cantor's office.

Dale Moore, executive director of public policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation, said supporters of the package were left "kind of stunned" by its defeat, and that lawmakers haven't moved far beyond "the wound-licking process."

"I know what the Spurs felt like after Game 6," Moore said, referring to San Antonio's come-from-ahead loss Tuesday night in the NBA playoffs.

If they decide to take another stab at the bill, GOP leaders would face the central question of whether to shift the package to the right to attract more Republicans, or shift it to the left to lure more Democrats.

"There's the penultimate question, and candidly I'm not sure" of the answer, Moore said.

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said Friday that the future of the bill remains up in the air, but he doubted that efforts to attract more conservatives would bear fruit.

"Clearly, they need more Democratic votes, so going to the right would not be an option," Hammill said.

Supporters of the five-year proposal are quick to note that the timing of Thursday's vote – which came more than three months before the current farm bill expires – gives lawmakers plenty of cushion for finding a solution and avoiding a short-term fix.

"It's way too early to talk about extensions," Moore said.

Meanwhile, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the head of Senate Agriculture Committee who shepherded a bipartisan farm bill through the upper chamber earlier this month, is awaiting a conference with a House version.

Peterson, who spoke with Stabenow Thursday, said the worst-case scenario would be a short-term extension of current law. He predicted lawmakers simply won't have the appetite to revert to the 1949 farm bill, as would happen on Oct. 1 if Congress doesn't act at all.

"The current law we can live with," he said. "So without a bill we'll end up with an extension, because there's no way we can go back to '49 law."

The Intersection Between Animal Cruelty and Public Safety
April 30th, 2013
Posted by The Department Of Justice
The following post appears courtesy of Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Mary Lou Leary.

The images that emerge from animal cruelty cases are both difficult to look at and impossible to turn away from.  We don’t encounter animal cruelty every day, but the Justice Department has charged at least 190 defendants with animal cruelty offenses during the past six years, and has assisted state and local prosecutors in many others.  Some of these cases involved flagrant abuses of show horses, complex underground dog fighting schemes, and stolen animals sold for medical research.  Just last month, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas charged the ringleaders of a multi-state dog fighting scheme with felony animal fighting.  More than a dozen federal, state and local agencies helped with the investigation and rescued 79 dogs.

Since we know there are established links between animal cruelty and different types of violent behavior, including domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse, today we had the unique opportunity to host a listening session on the intersection between animal cruelty and public safety.  We were joined by experts from a wide range of disciplines, including federal and state prosecutors, forensic scientists and veterinarians, judges, law enforcement officers, as well as representatives from the elder abuse, domestic violence, children services and animal welfare fields.  Today’s listening session also drew wide interest across the department – from our own research and policy advisors, to our criminal prosecutors and civil litigators.

Both in scale and scope, this conversation was the first of its kind in the department.  It is part of a broader dialogue that we will continue to have about preventing animal cruelty and better understanding its intersection with interpersonal violence and organized crime.

For example, investigators have documented child abuse cases where the perpetrators threatened to kill the child’s pet in order to enforce the child’s silence and compliance.  Surveys of domestic violence shelter residents reveal that batterers sometimes harm or threaten to harm pets as part of their strategy for controlling the behavior of family members.  And research suggests that acts of animal cruelty committed by young people may predict violent behavior in the future.  Intervening to address animal cruelty may be key to changing patterns of conduct for positive long-term effects.

Through raids and criminal prosecutions, we have also learned firsthand that certain forms of animal cruelty – such as dog and cockfighting – can be part of a highly organized interstate criminal industry that not only harms animals, but also threatens public safety.  Dog and cockfighting ventures frequently attract other criminal activities, including drug trafficking, unlawful possession of firearms, illegal gambling, stolen vehicles and property offenses, and child endangerment.

We still have more to explore and learn about these connections, and our Office of Justice Programs’ Animal Cruelty Working Group has been working to do just that.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NEWS and ARTICLE - Union Humane Society in Louisiana Sponsoring BL Horse Show to Raise Money

Sounds crazy, right?  But it's true.

We at FTTWH found out about this some time ago.  A woman we know acted on it and contacted the HSUS, the Coalition of Louisiana Animal Advocates (COLAA) and Community Action for Animals (CAA).  COLAA and CAA contacted the UHS and got no response.  Several of us have also contacted the UHS politely via their Facebook page and email, and they have brushed us off or been outright rude about it.  They deleted a ton of our posts on Facebook, even when people were politely asking them to rethink this, and wrote some pretty nasty responses to our posts.  They claim that the horses will be inspected (by SHOW, no less, currently having sued the USDA and is in the process of being decertified) and they won't be sored...but it seems to me they are more worried about getting the money than the welfare of the horses.

IT seems that the ULS is ignoring the fact that the WEGs in 2010 denied any BL horses on the grounds, and that the Germantown Charity Horse Show has gotten rid of the BL and they have actually gotten more entries and support this year.  An NWHA show in Texas last month raised around $30,000 in money for its charity, and no BL horses were present.

So, what we need you to do is to contact the USDA and ask them to please be present at this show.  Let them know it's on July 12-13 and it will be it will be at the North Louisiana Exhibition Center in Lincoln Parish.  The contact info for the USDA HPA is 301-851-3751 or email at hp@aphis.usda.gov.

Here's the article from the The Gazette of Farmerville, Louisiana from May 20.  Should give you a better idea of what's really going on.  It's important to note that the TWH BL industry continues to rely on charity donations to justify what they do.

Union Humane takes over Walking horse show
Sponsorship of event stirs debate
Gazette staff writer

The Union Humane Society is the new sponsor for the annual Tennessee Walking Horse Show July 12-13 — and there are a few people who are not happy about it.

“It’s extremely contradictory for a humane society to associate itself with an organization where there is known animal abuse,” said director for Community Action for Animals (CAA) in Memphis, Tenn., Cindy Sanders. “If there is even a hint of impropriety, they shouldn’t want to be involved.”

Over the past several years “soring” and “pressure shoeing” have been contentious issues for the Tennessee Walking Horse Show industry.

Soring is the illegal act of applying caustic chemicals to the ankle area of the horse, burning that area and then allowing the chains to dig into the area. Pressure shoeing is placing nails, broken glass, etc. under the shoe, causing the object to go into the frog of the hoof causing pain, like stepping on a tack. The reasoning behind both of these methods is to produce a “big lick” or high kick during the walking horse performances.
Sanders, a former federal officer and current animal legislator, said she was in disbelief upon first hearing that a humane society would be sponsoring a walking horse show.

“Coalition of Louisiana Animal Advocates (COLAA) sent a letter to the Board of Directors of the Union Humane Society and CAA sent a letter to the board also,” Sanders said. “I spoke with Ms. Fontana who is on the board and a very nice lady. She confirmed the board received our letters and was fully aware of the problems associated with the “big lick” performance classes and that despite it all, they will proceed as planned.”

Fontana admitted there has been abuse going on at walking horse shows, but said those guilty of abuse have been caught and she does not believe there will be a chance of any abuse at the Union Parish show.

“We have a list of names of all those who have been sanctioned and they will not be at our show,” she said. “A few abusers in a breed, race or sport do not make the entire sport bad.”

Fontana said in nearly every sport, there is potential for abuse, but that it is unfair for one to assume everyone is liable.

“We probably cannot stop the abuse from happening completely,” she said. “But we will do everything we can to monitor our show and make sure it doesn’t happen there.”

Scotty Aulds has been involved in with walking horse shows for more than 30 years and has been announcing at the Union Parish walking horse show since it began in 1990

“The whole thing has been blown way out of proportion,” Aulds said. “The horse is scrutinized for every step it takes. There are inspectors at every show who examine these horses to make sure no abuse is going on. I won’t deny there may be a few bad apples but the percentage rate of those who show compared to those who are sanctioned for abuse is extremely low. We need to get rid of the people who abuse horses, true. But I’ve been doing this a long time and most trainers I know treat their horses with the ultimate respect—heated stalls, fresh bedding… the works.”

Aulds also said the walking horse show in Union Parish has always been associated with charity and progress for the area.

“This is a positive event,’’ Aulds said. “The proceeds always go towards a good cause like scholarships for local youth, and different projects around town.”

In the past, Aulds said the walking horse show has paid for the lights underneath the Highway 33 bridge, maps for Union Parish Tourists and equipment for the Union Parish Sheriff’s Office Reserve, to name a few.

“And the show brings in business,” Aulds said. “People who come for the show eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores.”

However, Sanders argues that a good cause is not enough reason for these shows to continue and if the Union Humane Society wanted to be clear of controversy they would consider having a “sound” performance rather than a big lick.

“A sound show is natural,” Sanders said. “It doesn’t allow the action devices or chains and many walking horse shows who have begun this method have been just as successful as when they were doing big lick shows.”

Furthermore, Sanders claims that the HIO (Horse Industry Organization) which is responsible for mandatory inspections at shows, is currently in violation of the United States Department of Agriculture, which appoints HIO inspectors.

Although contacted several times, the HIO was unavailable for comment on the matter.

Regardless of the controversy, it is clear that the Union Humane Society will proceed with the show as planned. However, there are still some unanswered questions surrounding the event. Since the shows beginning, the Union Parish Chamber of Commerce has sponsored the event, which was held at the D’Arbonne Range Riders Arena.

This year, not only will the sponsor be the Union Humane Society, but the show will not be held at the DRR arena. Instead, it will be at the North Louisiana Exhibition Center in Lincoln Parish.

Chamber member and show organizer Jayne Green said the chamber decided to give the walking horse show to the Union Humane Society in an effort to help them with funding.

“Other things were taking precedent with the chamber and we also knew the Union Humane Society is in need of a facility so we turned the show over to them,” Green said. “They were extremely happy and grateful for the opportunity.”

For whatever reason, when the new sponsorship was presented to the DRR board, the board voted against it.

“It was a personal decision, that’s all I can say,” Fontana said.

Despite facing obstacle after obstacle the UHS is not giving up and will continue to work towards its greater goal of establishing an effective animal shelter in Union Parish. In a post on social media outlet Facebook the UHS wrote:

“Thank you for the comments and concerns regarding our upcoming Tennessee Walking Horse Show. We will be continuing to sponsor a Tennessee Walking Horse show hopefully for many years in the future. We believe the best way to combat a wrong is to shine a light on it - that can’t be done if you aren’t there… no animal should be harmed by a human. Unfortunately, that is not going to stop happening, especially if organizations like ours are underfunded and/or shut down. Our best way to combat the problem is to be there - watching, watching, watching. Our members have owned horses and other animals for many years and we will continue to do anything possible to prevent abuse from happening to them in a private setting or a public one. Thank you for your support.”

Friday, June 21, 2013

ARTICLES - Roy Exum's Latest Opinion Piece Pokes Holes in PSHA's Claims

This is brilliant.  I also added some thoughts in green text to what Roy said.  Click here for the original article by Roy.  Thanks again, Roy, for being on the up and up in helping expose this industry for what it truly is!

It's also VERY important to read this study done by RT International concerning the economic analysis of the TWH and Racking Horse industry.  I have copied and pasted a quote that relates to PSHA's claims after Roy's article.  (thanks to Sandy C. for the information!)


Roy Exum: The ‘Lickers’ Are Desperate
Friday, June 21, 2013 - by Roy Exum

Roy Exum The Performance Show Horse Association (PSHA), desperately trying to cling to the now-seedy image that has resulted in a half-century of abuse to Tennessee Walking Horses, accused U.S. Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) of “misleading and inaccurate testimony” on Thursday when, in fact, the Shelbyville-based organization is today considered a haven of false propaganda.

PSHA is the latest acronym of a club that those responsible for the Walking Horse Celebration has just launched to hide the tarnished reputations of other groups that revere the “Big Lick,” an unnatural gait that many believe can only be achieved by torturing and soring the magnificent animals. Whitfield had sponsored an amendment to the Farm Bill that would have instead helped cripple those who apply caustic chemicals and agents to the horse’s forelegs so they’ll pick their painful legs up higher.

The Farm Bill was defeated for the second straight year in Congress yesterday, 234-to-195, and while it is unknown what Congress will do next, there is no doubt the horse welfare advocates will swat away any attempts by the PSHA to sell itself as a legitimate entity after years on consistent and rampant horse abuse in what is laughingly now called the “performance” animal.

In a poorly-advised press release, [click here to read it] PSHA charged that “Whitfield failed to tell his former members of Congress that:

CLAIM: “The amendment eliminates a total division of the equine breed, impacting more than 10,000 horses that would be deemed no longer fit for their intended purpose.”

FACT: Horse shows wouldn’t skip a beat. “Dirty Lickers” might lose their jobs but if a massive effort to remove the cheaters from the game is successful, it only stands to reason that more people would show because the playing field is level. Believe this, the cheaters are well-known.  Plus, there are only 8,500 horses registered in the TWHBEA database, and it's estimated that only 10% of them are BL horses.  As far as I can tell, 10% of 8500 isn't 10,000.

CLAIM: “Take from hard-working taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in investments and income without cause or any scientific evidence”

FACT: In just the last year, five men have pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from horse abuse and two trainers – convicted Jackie McConnell and just-caught Larry Wheelon – still face state charges. If Wheelon is found guilty on all 19 horses that were “scientifically” found to be abused, he could technically die in jail. We have more “cause” than the war in Iraq!

CLAIM: “Eliminate … self-regulation … which is far superior to federal government.”

FACT: Over half of the top horse show judges in the group SHOW have past violations of the Horse Protection Act and a recent check of the Trainer’s Association showed its members were rife with violations. (Wheelon headed its ethic committee) Trainers president Mickey McCormick has over a dozen suspensions – all by the US Dept. of Agriculture. “Self-regulation” in Shelbyville would outlaw mirrors.  It's also quite common for amounts violations to go up when USDA VMOs arrive, indicating that people are not being ticketed when they should be.  And wouldn't adding more VMOs actually create jobs, something that this country desperately needs?

CLAIM: “Eliminate … self regulation (in order to make the federal agency bigger).”

FACT: If mankind is ever going to do away with the “Dirty Lickers,” honest USDA veterinarians and inspectors are the only answer. How many USDA inspectors to you see at a dog show or county fair? The sleazy side of the Walking Horse industry has smeared the reputation of 95 percent of owners who are clean, sound and honest. Horse abuse for cheap ribbons must stop. America has clearly had enough.  This also sounds like they're stomping their feet and saying the government are big meanie poo-poo heads and are out to take all our money!

CLAIM: “Creates a Federal bureaucracy at a huge cost to taxpayers ….”

FACT: You want to see a bureaucracy? Go to Shelbyville, TN and just follow the money. The Breeder’s Association just fired its president, allegedly so his boss could win a ribbon. The same Breeder’s Association is floundering in a stinking sea of public perception and there is, in fact, “so much smoke that anyone can tell the Dirty Lick is ablaze in troubles.” The National Celebration has turned into a fiasco with heavy financial losses.  I'd also like to see their basis for this assumption.  Do you have estimates of these supposed costs?  Sounds like the kind of crap that Humane Watch spews--exorbitant amounts with no basis in fact.

Yet the press release from PSHA claims the Whitfield Amendment, if it stays on the next effort to get the Farm Bill through Congress, will ruin the walking horse industry. If ever there was a press release written by Pinocchio, Thursday’s missive from the so-called PSHA was surely it.



"In 2012, the USDA commissioned a study to determine what economic impact changing certain regulations/penalties, might cause for the walking horse industry. The study was done by an independent firm, outside of the government.

"The study shows:

"1) There were fewer than 650 total horse shows in the states most involved with walking and racking horses in 2012. This represents an 18% decline in recent years of affiliated horse shows. Horse show attendance is also down, with many classes having less than five entries per class. Revenues from horse shows are estimated to have decreased by 40% overall.

"2). Although supporters of the Big Lick horse stress the economic importance of the breeds to local economies, in the areas of highest concentration of these horses, the study rated the impact from neutral to very high, with the high end related to the charities that benefit from horse shows which are more affected by the losses of the show industry than the community at large.

"3). Where are the horses coming from? According to the study, in the Ohio Valley, (IN, KY, OH, and TN) there are an estimated 120,000 walking and racking horses. Only 6% or about 7,200 horses are actively being shown. In the Southeast Region (AL, FL, GA, MS, MO, NC, SC, TX, VA) there are an estimated 65,000 walking and racking horses and only 6% or about 3,000 horses actively participate in shows. In the West Region ( CA, CO, MT, NV, OR, WA) there are an estimated 15,500 walking and racking horses and 2% or about 310 horses actively participate in shows. In short, where these shows are most common, fewer than 15% of the horses in these areas are involved in show ring activity."

Sunday, June 9, 2013

NEWS and ARTICLES - Jackie McConnell Will Enter Guilty Plea; Articles from Shelbyville Times-Gazette

FINALLY.  Jackie McConnell was in court on Friday.  The results are that he will enter a guilty plea on June 18, as will Jeff Dockery and John K. Mays.

Remember: McConnell was arrested before the new TN animal cruelty law that states that animal cruelty is now a felony in TN.  So these will be considered misdemeanors.  However, he faces just less than one year of jail for each cruelty charge.  Unfortunately, he will most likely be available for probation, but at least he will most likely spend time behind bars.  He deserves it.

Here's the link to the article.  You may have to be a subscriber to read the article, so I copied and pasted the text below.

Collierville area horse trainer, two others to plead guilty on cruelty charges
Humane Society videotaped soring, other abuse inside stables
By Lela Garlington
Posted June 7, 2013 at 6:42 p.m., updated June 8, 2013 at 3:08 a.m.

Collierville area horse trainer Jackie McConnell and two co-defendants told a judge through their attorneys Friday that they were ready to enter guilty pleas in the animal cruelty charges they are facing involving more than a half-dozen Tennessee Walking horses.

Circuit Judge Webber McGraw set a June 18 plea date for the three men to return to court at the Bill G. Kelley Criminal Justice Complex in Somerville.

As McConnell, 61, left the courtroom with his wife and several others he told a reporter, “I don’t have any comments.” Afterward, his Somerville attorney David L. Douglas said his client is ready to put this behind him.

McConnell is charged with 22 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

His co-defendants, Jeff Dockery, 56, of Collierville, is facing three counts of animal cruelty and John K. Mays, 48, of Holly Springs, Miss., has 14 counts of animal cruelty. Both Dockery and Mays worked for McConnell at Whitter Stables in Fayette County, just over the Shelby County line near Collierville. Each count of animal cruelty carries just less than a year in jail.

In 2011, the Humane Society of the United States secretly shot video inside a training stable owned by McConnell showing caustic substances being applied to Tennessee walking horses’ legs and hooves and the animals being beaten to make them stand. The soring is meant to create a longer exaggerated stride and gait which is a more extreme version of what the horses do naturally.

Dane said McConnell has been disqualified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture numerous times for violating the Horse Protection Act. “This was the first time there was enough evidence to prosecute him criminally. Justice should be service. Violators should suffer consequences.”

“We anticipate probation,” Douglas said. “The federal prosecutors didn’t ask for jail time because of his age and lack of criminal history.”

In September 2012, McConnell pleaded guilty to felony charges of violating the Horse Protection Act. He received three years probation and a $75,000 fine.

“I think his barn is for sale. He essentially is shutting his barn practice down,” Douglas added. “I think the conditions of any plea will be that he no longer be involved in any horse training or ownership.”

Other horses, including Mucho Bueno, Taj Mahal, Master Streaker, Paroled In The Night and Cash Sweep had chemical compounds painted on their legs to make the horse “sore” solely for training the horses to compete in horse shows.

The allegations of animal cruelty occurred on various days in April 2011. Dist. Atty. Gen. Mike Dunavant said one possible condition for probation is that McConnell will be prevented from owning animals in the future.

Regarding the horses that were tortured, Dunavant said, “They were seized when the warrant was executed. They are now in the custody with the Humane Society of the United States.”

Both Douglas and Dunavant said McConnell only owned one of the horses. The rest are owned by private individuals.

Dane said the disposition of the horses has not been determined: “We would like to see them relinquished to us or to someone else.”

© 2013 Memphis Commercial Appeal. All rights reserved.


Jason Reynolds of the Shelbyville Times-Gazette has been writing articles concerning the TWH.  Unfortunately, it's just SSDD.  Here are the links to the articles--I won't post them here.

Perception vs. reality as Tennessee Walking Horse industry faces adversity

Equipment at heart of controversy

Most noteworthy is this quote by Mickey McCormick:  "I love these animals," McCormick said. "My kid shows. I'm not going to abuse one of these animals to make him do something he can't."

Yet McCormick has eight violations, according to the HPA database.  The most recent was in 2012.  I sincerely don't know how he ISN'T abusing horses.

I think Jason needs to do some more research rather than just rely on the same lies the industry continues to tell.  His articles are pretty one-sided.  He has not facts to back up the information, such as Inman's claim that attendance at shows are going up--just going on what people are saying.  (It's pretty obvious that attendance has gone down when you look at the videos and photographs and see empty seats and only a few horses per class.)  However, at least the majority of the public is realizing that these men are continuing to just make excuses for their need to profit from the sored horse.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

NEW For the Tennessee Walking Horse Facebook Page!

I'm proud to announce that For the Tennessee Walking Horse(R) now has an official Facebook page!  Click below for the link!

The page is where we will have all of our blog updates, links to articles, information on how to help, and anything that I can't get up on the blog fast enough that folks need to know about.  I hope that everyone will "like" our page and will help us continue to fight to end soring and get rid of the tools used to sore horses!  THANK YOU everyone for supporting the horse, and no one else!

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