"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

Saturday, October 27, 2012

NEWS and ARTICLES - More HR 6388 Support, "Weighted Shoes" Issue, and HSUS Files a Friend-of-the-Court Brief Against TWH Industry

And please do it more than once to emphasize the importance of this to be passed!
Go to www.senate.gov and www.house.gov and go to the upper right corner to find your Congress person.

Just click on Comments in the upper right corner and type in your name.

More Support of HR 6388

So, has everyone been keeping an eye on POPVOX?  We've gotten even MORE co-sponsors from our government: 46 total!  It's pretty amazing how our government officials are standing up behind the changes.  And why not?  It's an easy amendment to include into the HPA, it costs the government no money to instigate, and it will create a few more jobs.  It seems to be a no-brainer!

"Weighted Shoes" Issue

Now, there's been a lot of talk about the wording of the new amendment.  Basically, people are upset about the use of the word "weighted shoes" in the addition to Section 1824, paragraph 13.  How much weight do they mean?  And they are worried about the words "strictly protective and therapeutic in nature," thinking that this means any shoe other than a keg shoe (Section 1824, paragraph 13C).

Some of our FTTWH writers and Facebook participants have spoken with the USDA, and they have confirmed that the goal is NOT to take away the max shoes used by the sound HIOs.  Their goal is to eliminate the tungsten shoe and other such shoes that are specifically used for cheating in the show ring.  Clearly, they are fine with the shoeing regulations by such HIOs as FOSH and NWHA--particularly NWHA, who uses the 1 1/2" shoe, since they have been to many of their shows this past year and haven't found any sore horses.  (See NWHA's rulebook here--shoeing rules are Section 8.3, page 19.)  The USDA has said they want to work with the industry to find the weight/shoe size that will be allowed in the ring without the need for bands.

Then we were given this information from Keith Dane (reposted with permission from Keith):

My understanding is that the bill prohibits the use on Tennessee Walking, Racking and Spotted Saddle horses of a weighted shoe that is not strictly protective or therapeutic in nature.  Although they could have specified in the bill what the maximum shoe weight allowed would be, the sponsors wanted the regulators, the veterinary community and the stakeholders in the industry to have input into the decision about what the maximum weight should be.

The USDA would seek that input and determine what the maximum weight is for a shoe that is strictly protective or therapeutic, and specify that maximum in the new regulations which will be promulgated under this law when passed.  Any shoes that is less than or equal to that maximum weight will be allowed.  Any shoes that exceeds that weight will be prohibited.

Here's what I ask folks to consider: if you don't like the wording of those bits, PLEASE don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.  We still need support of HR 6388 because shoeing is not the only part of the amendment that needs our attention.  It will strengthen penalties and make soring much more difficult to do, and therefore soring will become a rarity instead of the commonality it is today.  So, write to you Congress person ans tell them you support HR 6388 as long as the term "weighted shoes" and/or "protective or therapeudic in nature" are defined.  It's very simple.  We need the stronger penalties to pass, and most of us want all of the other devices out of the show ring, so please at least show your support of those parts of the amendment.

My own opinion is this: as far as I understand, the TWH should be born with the true flat walk and running walk.  It should come easily under saddle with classical training and a horse should be conditioned to show in the show ring.  The shoes are not supposed to make the gait--they're ONLY supposed to enhance it.  So why should the shoe matter?  Enhancement is only necessary for the pleasure of the viewer, not for the horse.  Unfortunately, the entire TWH community--sound and sore alike--is too hung up on shoes.  All of our divisions are based on the type of shoes the horse is wearing.  It's gotten ridiculous.  Why do we no longer focus on the talent of the horse and instead are focusing on his shoes?  The focus seems to be more on protecting the shoes over protecting the horse!  In my truly honest opinion, I have absolutely no problem with some severe restrictions by the government on the shoeing.  I personally have no problem with NWHA's shoeing rules, and I think those should be the standard.  NWHA has proven to keep sore horses out of the ring due to their shoeing rules and their diligence, and that's the attitude that everyone needs to adopt.

HSUS Files a Friend-of-the-Court Brief Against TWH Industry

Click here for the article; copied and pasted below.

Okay, I have to admit that I have no clue what a "friend-of-the-court brief" is.  So I looked it up.  The correct name for this is amicus curiae, Latin for, literally, "friend of the court."  An amicus curiae is someone who volunteers to offer information to assist the court in deciding any matter presented to it.  A brief is usually filed in matters that concern the public interest, like soring. They can be filed by private entities or by the government itself.

So, the HSUS has asked the federal judge to rule against the TWH industry and help uphold regulations to stop the abuse.  I imagine they also provided their own collected information, such as the McConnell video, to help the judge make his decision.

I'm glad to hear they were allowed to file a brief in the first place.  It will certainly be telling to the judge to learn the statistics that show soring is rampant and that the HPA does include due 
process.  Let's hope this case gets settled soon.

The Tennessean.com

Humane Society files walking horse brief
October 26, 2012

The Humane Society of the United States filed a friend-of-the-court brief on Friday, asking a federal judge to rule against the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and uphold new regulations to stop abuse.

U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations introduced earlier this year would standardize penalties for soring — injuring walking horses to encourage their unusual gait — across 12 private groups licensed to inspect horses at shows. Among those is Shelbyville-based SHOW horse inspection organization, which sued the USDA over the regulations.

SHOW’s suit, filed in Fort Worth, Texas, claims the new regulations essentially deny accused trainers their constitutional right to due process.

“By challenging these regulations, the walking horse industry has made it clear that it has no interest in cleaning up its act and getting rid of the brutal practice of soring,” Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president for animal protection litigation and investigations for the Humane Society, said in a media release.

The group’s undercover video of a famed walking horse trainer soring a horse brought national attention to the problem. The USDA announces its new regulations weeks after the video’s release.

SHOW officials have said their soring penalties already are among the toughest in the industry.

— Heidi Hall The Tennessean

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

RESEARCH and HOW YOU CAN HELP - POPVOX and Why We Should Support H.R. 6388

And please do it more than once to emphasize the importance of this to be passed!
Go to www.senate.gov and www.house.gov and go to the upper right corner to find your Congress person.

Just click on Comments in the upper right corner and type in your name.

So I've got a couple of things to talk about here, and first I want to get something out of the way that I have a strong sense that people have not thought about.

Being on various groups and pages on Facebook, we see a lot of buzz about H.R. 6388.  I have noticed that people who claim to support sound horses won't support H.R. 6388.  This is because they do not like the term "weighted shoes."  They think that their LS shoes and Plantation shoes will be taken away from them.

After doing some research, I have learned this is NOT true.  One of our FTTWH contributors spoke with a fellow horseman who helped write the amendment.  He stated that the reason they used the term "weighted shoes" was because it gives the USDA the freedom to put regulations on what type of shoes.  He also said the USDA is not trying to eliminate the LS shoe and the Plantation shoes.

I think that it's clear that the USDA has no problem with NWHA and FOSH shows, which allow horses to carry heavier shoes.  The heavier shoes are not the problem.  It's the tungsten shoes - which are basically cheating - and the addition of iron plates to the bottom of the shoes after the horse has been through the DQP to make them heavier.  (Yes, this happens--I've witnessed it myself a few years ago.)

What I'm saddened by is people throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  They are rejecting the entire H.R. 6388 based on two words.  Can't people support the bill anyway?  This bill doesn't just take away stacks, chains, bands and weighted shoes.  It also strengthens the penalties and makes it harder for the cheaters to cheat and the sorers to win.  We need these to be implemented because first, we know the Industry won't do it, and second, we know the USDA won't do it.  You are always allowed to write in something like, "I support H.R. 6388 but ask that the term "weighted shoes" be clearly defined."  With the attitude I'm reading about, it seems to me that shoes are more important than protecting the horse here.  This IS the HORSE PROTECTION ACT after all, not the Owners/Exhibitors/Trainers Protection Act.  We need to see support to get the HPA better enforced and the law upheld.  Is that not more important than what shoes are nailed on the horses' feet?

Which leads me to another way to express your opinion and say exactly what I said above in concern with the "weighted shoes" terminology.  POPVOX is a website that's gotten a lot of buzz in the TWH community lately.  I wasn't sure what it was all about, but basically it's a website where you can voice your support or opposition of any bill currently being reviewed by the government.

It's a pretty neat deal.  When you go to the website, you can do a search for H.R. 6388.  (Here's the link.)  Then, you can click SUPPORT or OPPOSE and write in your response.  This response goes directly to your local Congress persons.

Now it is important to note that there are plenty of ways to easily fake email addresses and names, so the percentages of support vs. oppose can be skewed.  And I don't know if any solid proof that responses on POPVOX have been the make or break decision for any of our Congress persons in the past.  But, this is a very easy way to get your voice heard and to share with others to ask them to also voice their support.

What's really interesting is to take a look at this page.  Here, we can see where the support and oppositions come from.  Not surprisingly, the majority of the opposition comes from where?  TENNESSEE!!!  Well duh!  It would end their precious crippled spider look!  But it's also pretty darn cool to see folks from as far away as Alaska and Hawaii are in support of this bill.  If our Congress persons consider these demographics, they would see that those who are in opposition are those who want to see this monstrosity continue as is.  Also note the organizations who oppose the bill are also those who oppose the USDA and ANY changes to the regulations they make.  Surprise, surprise.

So far, as logged on POPVOX, we have 43 co-sponsors of the bill from various districts across the U.S.  I also understand that 17 more have also co-sponsored the bill, but they aren't listed on POPVOX.

Overall, take some time browsing this page to read the comments, learn about the co-sponsors, and find out more about H.R. 6388.  It's a great way to learn more and to understand why we absolutely need H.R. 6388 to pass.  Currently, the bill is in the House and Energy Commerce Committee to be reviewed and voted upon.  Then it will head to the House if they are cool with it.  So be sure to get your comments in there in support of the bill so we can make sure it gets in the hands of the House and the Senate.

Again, as always, THANK YOU for your support of the horse!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

HOW YOU CAN HELP - We Need Your Signatures for This Letter To Various Horse Organizations

And please do it more than once to emphasize the importance of this to be passed!
Go to www.senate.gov and www.house.gov and go to the upper right corner to find your Congress person.

Hello fellow sound horse warriors and friends.

To keep the momentum going to garner support for H.R. 6388, one of the posters on our Facebook group suggested writing letters to various horse associations and organizations that are outside of the TWH/SSH world to get more support.  I thought this was an excellent idea.  With the poster's permission to borrow her idea, I decided to take this a step further and put together a letter that we all can sign.

I did want to make this more than just a petition.  A petition is usually written to demand a change or to take action for or against certain activities, organizations or individuals.  What we're looking for is support for H.R. 6388.  So instead of creating a petition, I created an online document via Google Drive that people can comment on to give their support.  Basically, commenting will give me permission to include your name on the letter.  On November 6, I will close the comments and will send off the letter via email and snail mail to various horse organizations.

Here's how it works.
  • Go to this link to view the letter: CLICK HERE.
  • To comment, choose the gray Comment box in the upper right corner.  All you have to say is something to the effect of, "My name is Midnight Sun, and I am giving permission to use my name on this document."
  • I'm not going to include any further comments other than your name to keep the letter short.
  • You don't have to have a Google account to comment, but please use your real name in the comments.  Using a false name does not help our cause.
PLEASE COMMENT BY NOVEMBER 6, 2012.  I've chosen Election Day because it'll be easier for people to take the time to pay attention to the letter after the elections are over.  And it's an easy day to remember to comment by!

Since we have lots of moles and trolls out there that read this blog, I'm not going to include the names of the organizations here.  I don't want them to end up being harassed by people who are against what we're doing here.  I will be sending letters to various breed associations and riding organizations, and even if they don't send in their support, we can at least educate them about the situation, and they might just pass the information along to someone who will send in their support.

Thanks everyone!  And THANK YOU for being FOR THE HORSE!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

NEWS - For the Tennessee Walking Horse Facebook Group Update

And please do it more than once to emphasize the importance of this to be passed!
Go to www.senate.gov and www.house.gov and go to the upper right corner to find your Congress person.

Hello sound horse warriors and friends.

I made the decision to list the FTTWH Facebook group as "Closed."  This means that the group can be found via a search on Facebook, and people can see the description of the group and the members in it, but they cannot read the posts.  This was my own decision, not with any of the other moderators.

The first reason I did this is because I've heard of some outside Facebook hacking going on that has nothing to do with our fight against soring that could affect the group member status.  I believe it is part of a group owner's responsibility to take steps to make sure the group does not get attacked by hackers.

The second reason is because of the continued outside attacks on this group and people reposting our posts when we are leaving everyone else alone.  I will say that I fight back now and again and I'm just as guilty sometimes of causing problems, but then again at least I admit to my guilt and don't take a holier-than-thou attitude.  I also have to say that it says a lot to me about "their" character that they have to start all of it by using our posts against us.  They call us "terrorists," "fruitcakes," "insane," "tree-huggers," "bunny-rubbers," and the stuff they call me personally...well, let's just say it signals to me that they're afraid because the fight continues and won't stop until soring is gone for good.  And I must say, I'd rather be called a tree-hugger or a bunny-rubber than a horse-abuser or horse-abuse-supporter!

Anyway, I am sure there are plenty of people on the group who act as moles and/or trolls on the Facebook group who will "report back" to those they think need to know what we're saying.  But at least with the group being closed we'll be able to weed them out if necessary.  And we still allow anyone to join who wants to join.  There are currently eight people banned from the group who were banned because of their behavior (cursing, personal attacks, etc.) rather than whether they agree with stacking and/or soring or not.

I still encourage everyone to join if you're on Facebook, however.  A lot of people post a lot of information on there, and sometimes I have a hard time keeping up on this blog!  It's amazing how many people are out there who truly want to save the horse.  I believe that those of you who are true sound horse warriors will want to join to know what we're doing to end this atrocity, and we can always use your help to do so!  Click here for the link to the group.

Thanks for all your support, everyone, and keep up the good work!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

THOUGHTS - Rise Above the Hate

And please do it more than once to emphasize the importance of this to be passed!
Go to www.senate.gov and www.house.gov and go to the upper right corner to find your Congress person.

Dear sound horse warriors and friends,

This is something that I posted on our Facebook group tonight, but I wanted to post it here to reach a wider audience.  I hope it helps put things in perspective for everyone and helps set the standard for saving the horse.

I just dealt with something this evening that is akin to Internet bullying because, as usual, I don't like the BL and am against soring.  As many of you already know, I get LOTS of Internet attacks because I'm trying hard to help end soring.  But tonight it got to me.  People found it necessary to attack me on a FB group that the moderator, who I know, created so people could bitch and complain all they want.  It's not TWH related--it's just a place for horse people to vent.  Various people were posting pictures and videos of people with horses and pointing out how bad they were treating their horses or what morons they were making themselves look like.  No one was attacking anyone else.  However, I post a picture and talk about it, and two of the people on the group attack me directly, and the moderator did nothing about it.  Fine.  If that person wants to run that page that way then whatever.  I left the group so I won't be tempted to post on there again.  (I had already left once for the same reason before but came back to try again...fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me! :) )

But you know what? I just ran across this video.

In this video, Jennifer said: "The internet has become a weapon...and this behavior is learned." We just witnessed this on FB, where the moderator of another FB group that supports the HPA violators continues to copy and repost posts we make on our FB group and invites folks to call us terrorists, fruitcakes, and all kinds of nasty names.  It seems the Internet has become a shield--people feel they can hide behind their monitor and spew hate all they want.  And yes, I've used that shield myself.  But you know what inspired me just now was that Jennifer showed us that we can rise above the hate.  She showed us that TOGETHER, we can stop this.

For every one person who loves the look of the sored horse, who cheers on HPA violators such as Jimmy McConnell, Chad Way, and Gary Edwards, there are 10 more who are disgusted by it and want to see it end.  WE MUST USE OUR VOICES TO STOP THIS. T he response to Jennifer's video has been overwhelming, and we need to see the same response to HR 6388 and to the sound horse community.  If you are sound: stop going to sore horse shows.  If you are REALLY For the sound horse and are in the BL community, DEMAND to SHOW, TWHBEA, PRIDE, whomever that they TRULY stop soring.  Don't let them just pussyfoot around and continue to make all of you look like helpless fools.  Don't let their lies be yours.  Storm their offices, bombard them with letters, MAKE THEM STOP IT BEFORE THE USDA DOES IT FOR YOU.  Tell them you want to see rules that will actually eliminate the sorers, such as lifetime bans after three strikes, things like that.  You WILL lose your precious BL if you don't make the trainers accountable for their actions.  And for all of us who want to see the FS and BF horse succeed and be the true strong side of the TWH, MAKE IT HAPPEN.  Put your money where your mouth is--join NWHA, FOSH, send in class sponsorships, host a garage sale to raise money for them, host a clinic in your area to raise money.

I challenge each and every one of you to do one thing this week: to make an effort that is more than just sitting behind a computer screen.  Pick up the phone and make a call to your Reps and Senators to ask for support for HR 6388. P ick up your checkbook and send in a $10 donation to FOSH or NWHA.  Heck, even a $5 donation is something.  Find a local SOUND gaited horse show--one that is not affiliated with anyone but FOSH or NWHA and that does not have heavy shod or BL horses in it--and volunteer to work the gate, pass out ribbons, or work the office.  We cannot allow these monsters to continue to win the battles with their money and lies.  Horse slaughter was made illegal in the US, which means we can see a REAL end to soring if we work hard at it.  I hope each of you will consider this challenge.  Feel free to comment on what you do, and let's take Jennifer's positive attitude and carry it with us!

Monday, October 1, 2012

NEWS and ARTICLES - Mullins Resigns From SHOW and More

And please do it more than once to emphasize the importance of this to be passed!
Go to www.senate.gov and www.house.gov and go to the upper right corner to find your Congress person.

Our Facebook group continues to be hot and jumping with news about the World of Soring.  Here's the latest.

SHOW President Resigns at Sept 27, 2012 Board Meeting

From the Walking Horse Report.  Now keep in mind, most board members/officers are in office for six years with most associations.  Mullins has resigned after three.


Subject: Mullins Resigns From SHOW

The Report has learned that Dr. Stephen L. Mullins has resigned his position as President of the SHOW HIO. Mullins informed the SHOW board of directors at their meeting on September 27, 2012. Mullins has been the President of SHOW since 2009. Mullins will continue in his current role through the end of 2012 and will continue to support the SHOW HIO in an advisory capacity in the future.

During the board meeting Mullins thanked the board for their trust in him and read the following letter to the board of directors.

SHOW Board,

In November 2009, I gave up my Veterinary Practice and was honored to become President of SHOW HIO. I believe we, the TWHNC and SHOW have made great strides inside this industry. It has been a long winding road and this industry still has many hurdles to get over but I believe the industry is definitely headed in the correct direction.

I am very grateful to this Board for allowing me the freedom over the last 3 years to do the things which I and the advisors thought needed to be done. I also realize that quite often when tough choices had to be made on certain suspensions or when other circumstances came up, this Board stood behind my decisions even though it was potentially hurting this Board and its horse shows. I for one have come to know that the integrity of this Board is beyond what even I expected and for that I will be eternally grateful.

I can go on forever about my gratitude to this Board and to the TWHNC, but simply want to say thank you for your support throughout the last 3 years.

However, I am asking this Board to allow me to transition out of my position. I believe the industry has reached a point where it is time to move in a different direction. I also know that I personally have reached a point where I physically and mentally need to change. I also know that you will be approached with a new proposal for SHOW HIO within the next few weeks. I believe this will help the Celebration with the financial burden of SHOW and will also potentially get the TWHNC out of the inspection business.

I believe I need to remain at my position through the end of the year. This will get us through the Fall horse shows. We will then have appeals and hearings to get through and then will potentially have a new transition. I will then be glad to stay in an advisory role with SHOW and would be honored to help the Celebration in any way possible in the future.

I just want to say a simple, humble “Thank you” to each and every person on this board and to this great horse show. I hope I have done each of you the job this great horse show deserved and I will again always be grateful.

Dr. Stephen L. Mullins


As someone from our Facebook page pointed out, first he says, "I believe the industry is definitely headed in the correct direction."  But later on, he says, "I believe the industry has reached a point where it is time to move in a different direction."  So which is it, Mullins?  Are they doing good or bad?

This letter is very vague, of course; I'm wondering what this "new proposal" is going to be.  But overall, it sounds like a polite summation written by a rat deserting a sinking ship.  So, let's keep our eyes peeled on what HPA violator they'll put in charge next!

Next, Jackie McConnell will soon be tried under Tennessee state animal welfare laws with the same counts of animal cruelty from the Federal case.  Click here for the article.  The court date has been bumped to November 13.  This gives us plenty of time to send in emails and calls to the judge's office to ask for the maximum sentencing possible.  Good things to ask for are for a lifetime ban of owning, training and boarding horses, and a hefty fine to go with either some jail time or community service.  If that can't be achieved, perhaps house arrest with supervision when going to doctor's appointments would be a good option.

I do want to point out that Jackie was convicted in March (I think that's right--I could be wrong on the month), but the new law making animal abuse a felony didn't go into effect until July 1.  So please note that he will not be tried under the new law.  TOTALLY sucks, but hey, it's all about timing.

To contact the judge's office:  
Call the Fayette County Courthouse at 901-465-5205; ask for Mike French or his assistant, Melissa Douglass.
Email melissa.douglass@tncourts.gov Attn: Mike French, Mcconnell case. If your email gets kicked back, call the above phone number.
(Thanks to Robin P. from Facebook for getting this information!)

McConnell's name was not erased from the Celebration as they promised.  We all heard that the Celebration banned Jackie McConnell and stripped all traces of him from the show grounds.  But ho, what is this?  A clearly defined trophy called the Odel McConnell Memorial Challenge Trophy that is sponsored by him and his wife, written plain as day in the Celebration showbill.

Seems that money's the key, not who gives it to them.  Apparently the McConnells paid for this trophy some time ago, but the Celebration neglected to take his name off of it as a sponsor.  Will wonders never cease?

We have some very good news for the horse, because now several owners are being investigated concerning the McConnell abuse case.  Click here for the article from timesfreepress.com, which is copied and pasted below.


Horse owners could be next in soring prosecutions
September 23, 2012
By Pam Sohn

As a famed Tennessee walking horse trainer begins his federal probation and prepares to defend himself against 17 state misdemeanor charges related to soring, a new battle line is forming for possible prosecutions of horse owners.

For now, that fight seems to be unfolding around eight horses seized March 1 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture from Jackie McConnell's stable near Collierville, Tenn., and now sequestered by the Humane Society of the United States.

The state cases — all charging cruelty to animals — have been taken by 25th Judicial District Attorney Mike Dunavant.

Affidavits in the case detail dozens of instances of abuse suffered by seven horses in McConnell's care, some of which were among the eight seized. Those instances include:

• From March through May 2011, an undercover operative saw McConnell or his stablehands apply soring substances to horses' legs on more than a dozen occasions — at least twice while owners watched.

• McConnell was observed beating a horse on the head with a large stick.

• McConnell twice used a "hot shot" cattle prod on a walking horse referred to as a "field colt" while a stablehand rode him.

McConnell and two stablehands, John Mays and Jeff Dockery, face 17 counts of animal cruelty involving different types of abuse including soring and stewarding. Soring is the use of caustic chemicals and chains on the horses' legs and feet to induce their exaggerated "big lick" gait. Stewarding is training the animals not to show pain.

The new charges, Dunavant said, allow officials to investigate how much owners knew and whether they participated in the alleged soring of their horses.

Dunavant also said state law provides that a court may prohibit people convicted of animal cruelty "from custody, possession, or ownership of any animals in the future."

Authorities say the seized horses still are in Tennessee, but they are in the custody of the Humane Society.

Keith Dane, the society's equine director, said the horses are "being well cared for pending the outcome of the cases."

According to affidavits signed by USDA investigator Julie McMillan, the horses have not always been so safe.

On five different days an undercover operative watched as McConnell oversaw his workers putting substances on a horse named Master Streaker. On one occasion, the horse's owner also watched, according to the affidavit.

In late spring 2011, Mays told the operative that "croton" had been applied to the pasterns of Master Streaker. The operative saw that the horse "exhibited observable signs of physical pain."

Later the same day, Master Streaker was seen "standing in her stall, repetitively picking up her feet and standing in the 'bucket stance,' which is indicative of soring. Later in the day Master Streaker was seen lying down in her stall on her side with her legs stretched back."

The following day, "the undercover operative overheard a conversation between John Mays and Jackie McConnell, where Mays tells McConnell that when he went to get Master Streaker from her stall, she would not move. McConnell asks Mays if she is 'paralyzed' and Mays says 'yes.' John Mays tells the undercover operative that Master Streaker is 'sore' from the 'croton' and that 'she ain't used to it yet,'" according to an affidavit.

Moving cases forward

On Friday, Dane applauded the state's interest in the owners of the seized horses.

"We don't have the authority to charge, of course, but we do believe that some of the owners of the horses that were in the barn when this investigation went on ... did have culpability," Dane said.

He said some of their horses previously had been ticketed for soring while being trained by McConnell.

"That should tend to suggest that they had known he was soring horses in the past, but they continued to leave their horses in his training and care," Dane said.

Last week in federal court here, McConnell was sentenced to three years' probation, fined $75,000 and ordered to perform 300 hours of community service for the USDA.

Dane said it's unclear what eventually will happen to the seized horses. The owners of at least one horse have sued the Humane Society, but Dane said he doesn't know the details of the suit.

Authorities say each horse is valued at $50,000 to $75,000.

Dunavant said the federal convictions against McConnell, Mays and Dockery will not increase any future state penalties against them if they are found guilty on the state charges.

A state Class A misdemeanor conviction can draw up to 11 months and 29 days in Tennessee. But McConnell, with no prior criminal record related to the current charges, "is statutorily presumed to be a qualified candidate for a suspended sentence and probation," Dunavant said.

Soring now is a felony in Tennessee, but when these charges were brought, it was a misdemeanor, according to authorities.


And, click here for the arrest warrants explaining the events that are the state claims of McConnell abusing animals.  WARNING - very graphic.  Might be a bit difficult to read.

Two owners, Joe Privett and Leslie McGowan witnessed their own horses, Taj Mahal and Cash Sweep, respectively, being sored right in front of them and did nothing about it.  And the industry says owners don't know what's going on...

Finally, the HSUS has put together a really nice fact sheet about HR 6388.  Click here for the pdf.  The HSUS has told us it's okay to send this to our legislators to help explain why we need this to pass.  And feel free to pass this on to your friends to help them learn more.  We need to keep HR 6388 in the spotlight to make sure it passes!

Thanks again to everyone who is keeping up the fight to save the horse.  We have to help everyone learn more and make sure we have tons of help to stop this horrible practice and make the industry stop the lies and continue breaking the law.

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