A Fayette County, Tn., Grand Jury has indicted horse trainer Jackie McConnell and two co-defendants on 38 counts of animal cruelty for illegally soring and torturing horses.
The indictments followed a Humane Society of the United States undercover investigation in 2011.
McConnell was indicted on 22 counts of animal cruelty in Fayette County, for charges stemming from alleged soring of Tennessee Walking Horses.
McConnell is already serving three years of probation and has been fined $75,000 for his federal felony conviction in Chattanooga.
“We commend District Attorney General Mike Dunavant and Assistant District Attorney General Mark Davidson for filing criminal charges against McConnell and his co-defendants —the first case of its kind in Tennessee,” Keith Dane, director of equine protection for The HSUS. “Unfortunately, the owners who placed their horses in McConnell’s training stables have not expressed the slightest regret or remorse for the torture these animals endured, and still need to be held accountable.”
McConnell’s co-defendants in the federal case, John Mays and Jeff Dockery were also indicted. Mays was charged with 13-counts and Dockery with three-counts. Both men pleaded guilty to lesser charges in Federal Court for their role in the conspiracy to violate the Horse Protection Act.
Since 2011, the HSUS has assisted the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General, and the Tennessee 25th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office in prosecuting the offenders and assisting in the rescue of horses from McConnell’s training operation.
In March 2012, eight horses were seized from McConnell’s stable following the execution of a search and seizure warrant. At the state’s request, the HSUS has been providing the horses with intensive rehabilitative care for the past year and will continue to do so.
The indictment is available here.