In an OpEd published by The Chattanoogan on July 31, 2012, Roy Exum writes:
When it was learned that the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration has just hired a new CEO to replace the departing Doyle Meadows over the weekend, there was an audible gasp from those seeking to reform the badly-battered Shelbyville-based industry. U.S. Department of Agriculture records reveal that Mike Inman, who will formally be named this week, and his wife have been cited for violating the federal Horse Protection Act four times in the past.
Mr. Inman, who lives in Bessemer, Ala., but is deeply-rooted within the seamy Shelbyville hierarchy, will take the helm of the now-rattled Celebration after the 11-day event is held in late August. This year’s organizers are clearly worried that a devastating tape of horse abuse seen by millions, the first-ever guilty pleas to violations of the Horse Protection Act in Federal Court, and seemingly endless rash of abysmal blunders this summer has cast the Walking Horse industry in the worst light ever.
The word around the barns is that Mr. Inman and his wife show in most amateur events, but sources say the three trainers they prefer all have recent histories of violating the Horse Protection Act. Steve Dunn, a Hall of Fame inductee, has had at least eight violations, the most recent resulting in an eight-month suspension last year, while Justin Harris, the Trainer of the Year in 2009, has had nine violations in the past, including one earlier this year. The other is Brandye Mills, who has had eight previous violations.
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