WRITTEN BY IVA BUTLER
Iva Butler, reporting for The Daily Times reports:
A judge ordered 19 Tennessee Walking Horses seized April 25 at Larry Wheelon Stables to be returned to their owners at Wheelon’s business, 2743 Tuckaleechee Pike, Maryville.
But since Wheelon no longer operates out of that barn, the question is where they can legally be returned. The owner of the barn “assured me in no uncertain terms that neither Wheelon or anyone else (associated with the horses) would be allowed on the property,” said Kellie Bachman, animal cruelty investigator for Blount County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA). “On June 10 she evicted him (Wheelon) and he is not to come on her property.”
BCSPCA confiscated the horses, and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been footing the bill for their care. HSUS officials are the only ones privy to the location.
They were first taken to a barn in Crossville, but owners learned of their whereabouts and the animals were moved to another secret location.
BCSPCA has the legal power to confiscate such animals and Bachman is the custodian of the horses.
Wheelon and Joe Heffington, an attorney from Shelbyville representing the owners, are calling Bachman demanding their return.
Bachman said Wheelon and Heffington have been threatening her and the owner of the barn with tactics that are “underhanded and not ethical.”
“Heffington threatened to charge me with contempt of court,” Bachman said. “This attorney needs to be talking to the HSUS. All I can do is release custody. I don’t know where these horses are.”
Bachman said the HSUS has tractor-trailers that are climate-controlled and have handlers to transport the horses, instead of relying on small horse trailers.
She told Heffington there was no place for the tractor-trailers to turn around, even if they were allowed on the property,
His response was “have the sheriff’s department shut down Tuckaleechee Pike and unload the horses in the roadway,” Bachman said, a solution she did not find viable. Read full report >>