"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

Thursday, April 25, 2013

**UPDATED** BREAKING NEWS AND ARTICLES - Horses Found Sore at Larry Wheelon's Barn Being Removed


First, I want to state that officially, soring is included in the Tennessee State law TN ST § 39-14-201 - 217.  Section § 39-14-202 Cruelty to animals specifically states:

(a) A person commits an offense who intentionally or knowingly:

(1) Tortures, maims or grossly overworks an animal;

(2) Fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, water, care or shelter for an animal in the person's custody;

(3) Abandons unreasonably an animal in the person's custody;

(4) Transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner; or

(5) Inflicts burns, cuts, lacerations, or other injuries or pain, by any method, including blistering compounds, to the legs or hooves of horses in order to make them sore for any purpose including, but not limited to, competition in horse shows and similar events.

Click here for the entire law.

So don't listen to the other side: there's nothing unconstitutional about this since they had a search warrant and resulting probable cause to seize the animals.  Plus, soring is now included in the state law, so YES, it can be inspected for at people's homes now, even though the HPA only covers shows, auctions, and transportation.

At this point, the official word is that 19 horses were seized.  The HSUS reports (click for link):

Leighann McCollum, Tennessee state director for The HSUS, said, “These horses are clearly in extreme pain—some of them from having chemicals applied to their skin and bolts driven into the soles of their hooves. We are grateful to be able to help rescue them so they will no longer have to suffer like this, simply for the sake of a blue ribbon. We commend the Blount County SPCA and Blount County Sheriff’s Office for their hard work and dedication on this case.”

Gino Bachman, president of Blount County SPCA, said, “Seeing these horses suffering so badly that they can hardly stand is heartbreaking, but being able to assist in this investigation and today’s rescue gives us some solace.”

The horses will be thoroughly examined and receive any necessary immediate medical treatment and will be cared for at an undisclosed location pending the final disposition of this case.

And this from the Chattanoogan.  Click here for the article.

As the horses were being moved, one horse was found to be in such pain that when something brushed the animal’s bloody foreleg in a barn walkway, the animal rushed the experienced equine handler, badly cutting her face and breaking her leg. The handler, who has been working with horses for years, was transported by ambulance to a local hospital.

The horse was quickly caught and sedated by veterinarians, who also began pain treatment for the animal.

Prayers to both the horse and the woman that they both turn out okay.

Also, Wheelon has been officially arrested.  From Mugshots.com (click for link):

Larry Joe Wheelon
Mugshots.com ID: 56691841
Age: 68
Race: W
Sex: M
Intake Date: 4/25/2013
Bond: $5000
Court Date: 4/30/2013

And for the record, Coggins tests were done earlier this week per another newspaper article I read that I can't find right now.  They probably came back negative and that's why the horses can be moved.


As of right now, horses are Larry Wheelon's barn are being saved!  (Click here for our original post about Wheelon.)  Click here for the article from Blount County's Daily Times, copied and pasted below.

Wheelon being questioned; horses seized for alleged soring
April 25, 2013
Iva Butler (ivab@thedailytimes.com)

Tennessee Walking Horse trainer Larry Wheelon is being questioned about possible animal cruelty by the United States Department of Agriculture Investigator, and horses at his stables that show signs of soring have been seized by the Blount County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The animals are being loaded into trailers and transported to an undisclosed location in another county.

As of 12:30 p.m. today, two loads of horses had been transported off the property.

Gino Bachman, BCSPCA animal cruelty inspector, said the action is being taken after a U.S. Department of Agriculture raid at Larry Wheelon Stables, 2743 Tuckaleechee Pike, Maryville, revealed signs of soring on at least 17 of 28 horses.

Criminal charges are expected to be filed against Wheelon later, he said. Wheelon turned himself in at Blount County Justice Center this morning.

Also on hand at the barn at this time are the Humane Society of the United States and Horse Haven of Tennessee.

Horse Haven is helping with the transportation but will not be housing the animals.


Hey Larry, I thought you said they didn't find anything...???

THANK YOU to Horse Haven of Tennessee, Blount County officials, and the HSUS for being there and for doing all this hard work.  I thank you on behalf of the horses!

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