John Mays. Photo Credit: Doug Strickland.

Defendant in horse soring case gets probation

John Mays. Photo Credit: Doug Strickland.
JOHN MAYS walks on the sidewalk in front of the Joel W. Solomon Federal Courthouse downtown in March after a hearing in federal court. Mays is charged with violations of the Horse Protection Act along with well-known walking horse trainer Jackie McConnell for allegedly participating in what is known as “horse soring,” an abusive practice which causes walking horses to lift their legs higher for shows. Photo Credit: Doug Strickland.

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.

Get more details here >>

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.

13 thoughts on “Defendant in horse soring case gets probation”

  1. He needs to be publicly flogged and then have gasoline poured on him and lit on fire I hope he hit by a car and dies


  2. PIG MEN IS WHAT THEY ARE Im so upset about these pig men who got no punishment for the cruel acts they have performed on the horses.What is the problem with the judges and others are they afraid to give a strict punishment, are they worried they could be asulted, or is it money?


  3. And in the end when these and other horses can’t perform because of their injuries they will be hauled to a auction and sold for meat. There are rescues out there but they can’t begin to help all of these horses that need the help while scum like these three men walk out of jail. I agree all of them need to be tied up and the same painful treatment with beatings thrown in as they did to these horses.


  4. There are more Monsters out and about then in a Horror movie ,dont any of these Judges see the Validity to people who do this kind of horrible stuff to a innocent horse, imagine what they would do to a human???????? These people need help not freedom. the horse is the one who should have their Freedom. Now that they have maimed these horses to have to live in pain the rest of their lives?????? Because of some greedy Idiots ??????? Wish I could have been the Judge in this case , I would have ordered all them have soring done on them, so they would have to live their lives in the same pain that they inflicted on the innocent horses………………. I would feel this would be the punishment the three of them deserved…………………………. I would go home that nite , peaceful knowing I gave the right Judgement !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  5. The punishment should fit the crime.

    I don’t mean to make any sense here, but I might do anyway.

    How about applying some “mustard oil and similar caustic ointments” to the Defendants’ say, wee sensitive areas, and make them ride around an arena strapped tightly to their saddles for a couple of hours or so? Let them write about that for the jagged judge.

    Aye, but nothing ever happens as it should.

    But not so fast there. Let’s include in that the state’s lawyers who put this stinking deal together with the defendants’ lawyers in the first place.



    1. I agree Mary…What about all the pain and suffering these wonderful and loving horses go through? This punishment was NO punishment. Obviously the DA and Judge don’t care. How much more proof do they need to prove these people have no morals or empathy? Why should the justice system show them empathy. Time served…big deal. Now I’m afraid of what McConnell will get.


      1. Anyone who spends a single penny in Tennessee until they kick these mafioso horse soring abusers out of the State and shut their competitions down does not love horses.

        All you have to do is look at their unnatural prance to see they’ve been meddled with. USDA inspectors and special tests? Come on. Get the fog out of your bonnets.

        Boycott Tennessee. Sorry about the punters who live there but you will just have to make do until this is all well and truly over. You won’t suffer nearly as much as thousands of these horses have done.


      2. They have already expressed concern that McConnell is old and in frail health. What a load of ….. He is not too old to beat and torture horses. Put him away. Or send him to the Soylent Green Home for Seniors and turn him into a cracker.


  6. There is no justice for these animals……To let someone walk after seeing what took place is sad…..This low life scum knew what he was doing and could care less what pain he inflicted on these helpless animals…..Not only does he need to serve time and pay a fine…He should have to do at least 2 years of community service helping educate the public about the practice of soring and work with the Humane society for 2 years….Otherwise I would almost guarantee he will be back to the same practice at another barn…..All I have to say is what a light sentence for such a horrible act of cruelty!


    1. What Mr Mays did was inexcusable , but if you take into consideration what he was made to do by the judge , they were able to get a written statement about the “MAIN PERSON” that they are after. Hopefully when the other 3 go to trial , they’ll get what is coming to them and hopefully set a precedent for other people that are soring horses. This is definitely a practice that has to stop !!!


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