A federal grand jury has indicted four men for charges related to horse soring days after a federal judge in Chattanooga sentenced three others to the first convictions of the crime in 20 years.
Jackie McDonnell, Jeff Dockery, John Mays and Joseph R. Abernathy face charges of conspiracy, inspection violations and related charges in a 52-count federal indictment.
The documents, unsealed today, allege that between 2006 and September 2011 the men violated the Horse Protection Act by transporting and entering "sored" horses in walking horse competitions and falsifying paperwork to elude detection by U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors.
Soring is a method of abuse that can include bolts, chains and corrosive chemicals used on horse hooves to create a higher step by tenderizing the animal's appendages.
The practice can ultimately cripple horses.
On Monday U.S. District Judge Harry "Sandy" Mattice sentenced Barney Davis and two other co-defendants after they pleaded guilty to violating the act. U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said in a release those were the first convictions under the Horse Protection Act in 20 years.
Davis received one year in prison, but has already served eight months of that term.
For more details see tomorrow's Times Free Press.