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Three Tennessee Residents Plead Guilty to "Soring" Horses

December 2, 2011, by The McKellar Law Firm, PLLC

According to the Department of Justice's website in an article titled "Barney Davis, Christen, Altman, and Jeffrey Bradford Plead Guilty to Horse Protection Act Violations," three Tennessee residents pled guilty in October to "soring" horses. The "soring" of horses is defined in the article as "...an unlawful practice where items like bolts are screwed against the soles of horse's hoofs or chemicals are applied to the pastern and hoof areas to produce pain and sensitivity to alter the gait of a horse."

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According the article from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General began investigating the case in August of 2010. In April of 2011, a grand jury in Chattanooga returned a thirty-four count superseding indictment against the three Shelbyville, Tennessee residents. Among the charges were violations of the Horse Protection Act of 1970, which is codified at 15 U.S.C. ยง 1821, and financial crimes related to the incident. The original charges were later amended to charge Davis with witness tampering. Davis pled guilty to the amended charges and waived presentation to the grand jury.

Violators of the Horse Protection Act are prosecuted federally and can be charged with both felony and/or misdemeanor crimes. Unites States Attorney Bill Killian expressed that he hoped that the prosecution of Davis, Altman, and Bradford will deter others in the industry from committing these types of crimes. Killian went on to say, "...we have been given dominion over the earth and its creatures, and we must exercise that privilege by being good stewards of this gift. Maiming and mutilating horses for sport and profit betrays that charge of stewardship."

Sentencing in this case has been set for February 13, 2012, at 9:00 a.m., in the United States District Court in Chattanooga.