Roy Exum: Horse Abuse? Just Dial 911

Saturday, July 28, 2012 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

With all due respect to the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors who attend horse shows in Tennessee and those from the Humane Society of the U.S., the “Long Arm of the Law” is who those who continue to sadistically abuse and torture Tennessee Walking Horses better worry about all the way from Memphis to Johnson City.

On the first day of this month, Governor Bill Haslam signed into law a bill that makes the abuse of livestock – including all horses – a Class E felony. Jim Hammond, who is the sheriff of Hamilton County (where Chattanooga is located), left no room for doubt this week when he said if his office got word that a felony crime has been committed, he would “definitely respond and, if we found reason, we would immediately arrest the people responsible and take them to jail for booking.”

“We take felony crimes very seriously,” the sheriff said. “In a case of animal abuse, we would probably ask an Animal Control Officer, like somebody from our McKamey Animal Center or even a veterinarian, to help in an investigation but, if there was cause, we would definitely arrest and transport those responsible to the county jail right then.”

Here’s the rub: Last Monday the Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization issued a news release that three men had been suspended after “swabbing” tests taken at a recent horse show proved positive. One man, Knox Blackburn, was cited twice and suspended for a total of four weeks while two others, Brad Beard and Marvin North, were each cited once and suspended for two weeks.

While some believe a two-week suspension is akin to a Florida vacation, had a scientific analysis shown that a positive swab for a caustic substance was found on the foreleg of a show horse in Chattanooga, there is a sheriff who says he’ll take anyone who abuses a horse to jail. As far as the two week suspension is concerned, that won’t be a problem – every Class E felony conviction results in an average of 1.2 years in state prison according to the state’s Department of Corrections.

Are you with me here? I asked Sheriff Hammond if he felt other sheriffs in Tennessee counties would take the same stance. He responded, “Frankly, they don’t have a choice. They have an obligation to uphold our laws. I know there is a strong walking horse presence in parts of Middle Tennessee but if a sheriff knows a felony crime is being committed, I think any of them would promptly respond to it.”

Whoo-whee! Had the felony law been in effect last year when the villainous Jackie McConnell abused the horses in the tape that has now been shown worldwide, the first graders who watched it would have been able to tell you what would happen! Federal laws against livestock abuse are woefully thin, but today in Tennessee, where violations of the federal Horse Protection Act are most rampant, the state’s sheriffs have a legal obligation to come down hard on suspected felons.

Worse, a sheriff doesn’t have to wait for a horse show. Any person in the state can report animal cruelty at any time and now the possibilities of catching the rogues are endless. When a sheriff’s deputy gets word some deranged horse trainer has slathered inhumane caustic substances on a horse’s legs and wrapped them with Saran wrap, the lawmen ain’t exactly going to call for an appointment at the rogue’s barn.

At the Dickson County Horse Show this weekend it has been learned that a USDA inspector found one horse with bilateral foot sores and issued two citations. You can’t help but wonder if Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe even knew about it and, if he did, what he would have done with the evidence and an Animal Control Officer already present.

Further, what is going to happen at the National Celebration in Shelbyville next month if a sored horse is discovered? Bedford County Sheriff Randall Boyce, as well as his deputies, have a legal obligation to arrest and book any persons – regardless where they are from – who appear to have committed a felony. Don’t worry about the trainer’s association levying any two-week tickets – animal abuse will be handled properly and succinctly by the state’s justice system.

In Germantown, where there is a new petition at one charity show to ban “crippled horses for crippled kids,” Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham can handle the problem quite easily, and in Collierville, where Jackie McConnell did his dirty work and is awaiting a Sept. 10 sentencing in a Chattanooga Federal court, Sheriff Oldham still has jurisdiction to seek out felons.

Don’t you see how delicious this is? What’s to keep a nauseated U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector from whipping out his cell phone and dialing 911? What happens if a barn worker can no longer watch as his boss puts an electric cattle prod on a Walking Horse’s lips? My gracious, a man wouldn’t rob bank if his boss told him to do it but a trainer will darn near kill a horse if the greedy owner demands it. All any of us need to do is dial 911, tell them there is a felony crime being committed, then stand back and watch.

If a trainer who does not abuse horses knows there is a cheater in a nearby barn and sees proof, doesn’t it stand to reason that the entire horse world would be a lot better if such a criminal were no longer in the game?  My goodness, on the USDA website right now, there are five pages of names of those who have violated the Horse Protection Act and are now suspended, including some deranged Tennesseans.

I think it is inherent for everyone in Tennessee to help our county sheriffs finally bring an end to a sick practice after 50 years of nothing but talk. One of our most beautiful animals, the Tennessee Walker, is defenseless to protect itself and – in just the last six months – the breed and everyone who loves it has been defiled by a despicable group of those who will still torture a horse for monetary gain.

Let’s stop Tennessee’s alarming Walking Horse sickness. Just dial 911.

royexum@aol.com

Horse foot X-ray
Horse foot X-ray

Positional Asphyxiation - The Danger Of Babies Sleeping In Car Seats - And Response

Roy Exum: The 1:59.40 Marathon!

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies


This is an important article many new parents may not be aware of. This is only the second time I've heard of danger, positional asphyxiation, of placing young babies, mainly less than one year ... (click for more)

First, we must tell the children, every little boy and girl must come. Anyone who has already started our next generation yet are less than only a few steps in their life’s race, must come. They ... (click for more)

This guy marveled when he read to his wife from the morning newspaper: “It says here that researchers have found women speak twice as much as men do.” His wife calmly replied, “That's because ... (click for more)


Opinion

Positional Asphyxiation - The Danger Of Babies Sleeping In Car Seats - And Response

This is an important article many new parents may not be aware of. This is only the second time I've heard of danger, positional asphyxiation, of placing young babies, mainly less than one year old, leaving them to sleep in their car seats. I shared this story with a young couple out west who are relatives the first time I heard of this danger. They recently had a new addition ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The 1:59.40 Marathon!

First, we must tell the children, every little boy and girl must come. Anyone who has already started our next generation yet are less than only a few steps in their life’s race, must come. They must see. Yes, we who have nearly finished our distance or the promising millennials who are still in their climb, you too! We must call them and point to the picture of a 34-year-old they ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Mac Taggart Shot In Shoulder By Officer After Pointing Gun At Deputies At Charleston, Tn.

A man was shot in the shoulder by a police officer at Charleston, Tn., early Sunday after a domestic disturbance call. At approximately 2 a.m., Bradley County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a 911 call near Laguna Drive in Charleston. Lance Leroy MacTaggart has been taken into custody on four counts of aggravated assault. While the victim sought medical treatment, deputies ... (click for more)

Woman Injured In Red Bank House Fire Saturday Evening

A woman was injured in a house fire Saturday evening in Red Bank. A 911 call was made reporting a house fire at 133 Flora Circle. At 6:30 p.m., Red Bank Fire Department responded to the scene and arrived reporting heavy smoke and fire on the back of the residence. The Red Bank Fire Department immediately requested a mutual aid response for additional manpower. The Signal ... (click for more)

Sports

UTC Soccer Records Another Shutout At Citadel

The Chattanooga women’s soccer team earned a record-tying eighth shutout with a 2-0 win over The Citadel Sunday afternoon in Southern Conference action at the Washington Light Infantry Field. The Mocs improve to 8-4-3 on the year and 3-2-1 in league action. The Citadel falls to 5-6-2 overall and 1-4 against the conference. The Mocs matched a school record eight shutouts set ... (click for more)

Covenant Scores Big USA South Win Over Maryville On Riggs PK

Jesse Riggs' penalty kick in the 77th minute and a stout defensive effort from the Covenant men's soccer team lifted the Scots to a pivotal, 1-0, victory over Maryville in USA South action on Saturday night at Scotland Yard. Covenant (11-2-1, 8-0 USA South) gains sole possession of first place in the USA South West Division with the win. The Scots finish the regular season ... (click for more)