Fourth Tennessee walking horse handler pleads guilty in Chattanooga

photo Jeff Dockery leaves the Joel W. Solomon Federal Courthouse downtown in this file photo.

On the heels of a televised Humane Society of the United States video showing abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses, the federal government is moving toward stiffer, mandatory penalties for horse soring.

"This is a much-needed step to strengthen enforcement of the act, which prohibits the showing and transporting of horses whose legs have been 'sored' through the application of painful chemicals or other painful training methods," said Keith Dane, director of equine protection for the Humane Society of the United States.

The rule was announced in teleconference on the same day a fourth Tennessee walking horse handler pleaded guilty in Chattanooga to a Horse Protection Act violation.