The Tennessee Supreme Court upheld a curious decision on what defines a “whistleblower” last month, saying you can’t blow the whistle on your employer if he’s the only one who hears the whistle. No, you’ve got to go to someone other than the perpetrator which not only makes sense, but appears to heighten one’s chance of success.
What is much more curious is why somebody didn’t go to jail in the case of “Haynes v. Formac Stables,” the case the state’s Supreme Court upheld last month. As the Federal Bureau of Investigation is in the process of making animal abuse a Group One felony, in the belief that anyone who would abuse an animal will ultimately abuse a person, I can point the G-men to Union City, Tn.
, as the very first stop.
According to documents, Charlie Haynes, a horse groom at Formac Stables was doing God only knows what to a horse named A Bruce Pearl when Bruce, the animal, kicked Charlie, the groom, in the head. The bloody Haynes approached the stable owner, asking for time off to seek medical attention, and the man-in-charge refused the request, instead summoning the stable’s veterinarian with his box of horse sutures.
My goodness, who among us wants to be held down in a horse barn while a veterinarian horse-sutures our head? The state of Tennessee is quite clear that for a veterinarian to treat a human is unethical and will be treated as “unprofessional conduct,” according to the state’s Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.
The veterinary group specifies it is also unacceptable for a vet to give a human any drugs, under any conditions, so did it hurt Charlie when he got horse-sutured? Further, the state’s “Good Samaritan Law” would not apply, since Charlie went back to work after the stable owner denied his request to seek medical help.
I contend forcing an employee to be horse-sutured is absolutely abuse by an authority figure. It is medical abuse, veterinary abuse (the stable vet knew it was wrong), common-sense abuse, hygiene abuse, and I don’t think horses like A Bruce Pearl enjoyed the show either. I also believe the stable owner, by not allowing Charlie to see a competent doctor and be treated for head trauma, i.e. concussion or cranial bleed, should be arrested for whatever laws were obviously broken.
After the groom returned to work, he complained of “splitting headaches,” which he attributed to the care that was given. The stable owner finally had enough, told Charlie he had too big a mouth for telling people he was horse-sutured, and fired the groom. That, to me, is further abuse by an authority figure.
My guess is some lawyer got with Charlie, they filed common-law and statutory whistleblowing claims, and then lawyers argued whether Haynes should have gone outside Formac Stables to blow his whistle or that he did the right thing by going to the highest authority in the Formac Stables chain. Who really cares in light of what really transpired? I think we have a clear case of abuse to a human being by a serial animal abuser.
Not only was Charlie Haynes obviously denied medical attention, he was literally forced to get stitched up by the vet by the domineering stable owner. My goodness, who is this barbarian who runs Formac Stables? It is very puzzling that Charlie Haynes’ name is on a number of legal descriptions of the case but nowhere in the legal briefs could one find out the real name of the man simply known as “stable owner.”
Then, in a fateful way, “the sun shined” and, oh mercy, the revelation is too twisted for color TV! The owner of Formac Stables is a known horse abuser who has a bloodline that is beyond compare. Jimmy McConnell, who once ran afoul of the federal Horse Protection Act with an aptly-named horse named “Up For Parole,” is the man who denied an employee proper medical attention and had his veterinarian “stitch Charlie up like a horse.” And Jimmy is the brother of the most notorious horse abuser in modern United States history – Jackie McConnell.
Jimmy has almost as much history as a cheater in the “Big Lick” that Jackie did before an undercover tape of him savagely beating a horse was seen on network TV. For instance, Jimmy was suspended by the USDA from New Years Day 1994 to April of 1995 by the USDA. The NHSC cited Jimmy and he was suspended: 11-29 to 12-12- 2004, 03-03 to -3-16-2004, and 09-06 to 09-19-2005. All three were for scar rules.
Need more? SHOW inspectors cited Jimmy and suspended him for 11-22 to 12/05-2011, 09-05 to 09-18-2011, 12-13 to 12-26-2011, and 05-09 to 05-22-2011. All SHOW infractions were for unilateral sores. There was a suspension by NHSC between 11-26 to 12-09-2001 for a unilateral sore, and a suspension by NHSC between 06-23 to 07-06-1999 on a horse named Cash’s Dreamboat. All together Jimmy McConnell was order to pay a total of $400 in fines.
What a sweetheart! Jimmy steered clear of Jackie when his brother pleaded guilty in Chattanooga. Ironically, I got an email from a reader over the weekend that said, in part, “I was on the Eastern District of Tennessee Federal Grand Jury when the Jackie McConnell horse soring /beating evidence was brought before us. The mood of this Grand Jury Room was the same as if it was child abuse or any other form of abuse of human life. We all wanted to know if there was anything else we could do above indicting him. Some very good suggestions were offered up in private conversations!”
In the recent Supreme Court case, one of Jimmy’s lawyers was Mike McGartland, the Texas attorney who actually once sued the USDA over mandatory penalties and, for what it’s worth, he is the owner of the horse that kicked Charlie Haynes in the skull, A Bruce Pearl!
I’m telling you, nobody alive can make this stuff up. But if ever there was a correlation between animal abuse and human abuse, an afternoon visit with Jimmy McConnell – Jackie’s brother – might be a good place to start. My goodness, he ordered horse sutures for Charlie Haynes!
Jimmy McConnell and his winning horse, A Bruce Pearl, stand in the winner's circle at a horse show after the horse kicked his groom in the head and McConnell then fired the guy.