CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — One of four men who pleaded guilty to soring Tennessee walking horses will not face more jail time.
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, John Mays was sentenced Monday to the time he has already served and ordered to write an article about horse soring.
Horse trainer Jackie McConnell, Jeff Dockery and Joseph Abernathy were indicted along with Mays and charged with violating the federal Horse Protection Act. The 52-count indictment was returned Feb. 29 by a federal grand jury in Chattanooga.
Mays pleaded to a lesser charge.
The charges followed wide distribution of an undercover video shot by an agent of the Humane Society of the United States, who got a job at McConnell’s Whitter Stables in Collierville.
The recordings show McConnell, Mays and others applying mustard oil and similar caustic ointments to the pasterns and hoofs of walking horses from March to May 2011. The video was posted on the humane group’s website and aired on television.
“The video showed the horses, in obvious pain, having trouble standing and being whipped until they did stand,” according to the plea agreement entered in court documents.
Horse soring is the use of painful chemical and mechanical agents on naturally gaited horses such as Tennessee Walkers in order to force the unnatural high-stepping action highly prized in shows and competitions.