Senator Who Introduced Horse Protection Act, U.S. Humane Society Equine Protection Officer To Be At McConnell Sentencing

  • Monday, September 17, 2012

The U.S. senator who introduced the federal Horse Protection Act and the director of equine protection for the Humane Society of the United States will be among those attending a sentencing for horse trainer Jackie McConnell in Chattanooga on Tuesday.

Former Senator Joseph Tydings and Keith Dane will take part in a press conference afterward.

The sentencing is set before Federal Judge Sandy Mattice at 2 p.m. in the large courtroom on the third floor of the Federal Building.

McConnell is a former Hall of Fame Tennessee Walking Horse trainer who was at the center of an undercover investigation by the HSUS.

Officials said, "Legislation introduced to strengthen the act and what else is needed to bring an end to the cruel practice of 'soring' will also be discussed."

In May, the HSUS released undercover video footage "revealing cruel treatment of horses in the Tennessee walking horse industry. The video, shot over several weeks at Whitter Stables, operated by McConnell, shows individuals abusing horses by using painful chemicals on the horses’ front legs to force them to perform an artificially high-stepping gait for show competitions. This cruel practice, known as 'soring,' has been illegal for more than 40 years under the federal Horse Protection Act."

 McConnell and two of his associates entered guilty pleas to charges related to conspiracy to violate the Horse Protection Act.

HUS officials said, "Many trainers and judges have histories of violating the law, and this case has shown that trainers who violate the HPA can face serious consequences."

It is agreed that McConnell will receive probation.

Prosecutor Steve Neff is asking that he be given a maximum $250,000 fine.

Defense attorney Hugh Moore cited numerous letters in his defense, said he has already been strongly punished by waves of negative press and said no such fine is warranted.  



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