Walking Horse owners sue Blount County SPCA for $2.1M

Tennessee Walking Horse rescued from accused horse sorer Larry Wheelon, Blount County, Tennessee. Image: Kathy Milani/HSUS.
Rescue worker washes down a leg of a Tennessee Walking Horse taken from accused horse sorer Larry Wheelon, Blount County, Tennessee. Image: Kathy Milani/HSUS.


(WBIR) — Seven horse owners are suing the Blount County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) for $2.1 million.

They claim their horses missed an entire show season in which the animals would have been able to win prize money.

The lawsuit stems from an April 25, 2013 raid on Larry Wheelon Stables. On that date, the BCSPCA seized 19 horses from the Blount County facility over accusations that trainers used soring on the animals, a practice in which a trainer intentionally inflicts pain on a horse to enhance its high-stepping gait.

According to the lawsuit, the owners claim their horses were not returned to them them until November 2013 and at that time “it was apparent that they had been granted substandard care and were in poor condition than when they were seized on April 25, 2013”. The horse owners also stated “deprivation of their personal property led to said horses never being about to return to their previous show condition or to never be able to be shown again or to have their value substantially depreciated due to the deprivation of their personal property”. The horse owners are accusing the BCSPCA of “intentional, malicious, and reckless” actions.

Gino Bachman, president and senior cruelty investigator for the BCSPCA, said, “I can’t say much about it except the fact that we as an agency, the SPCA, conducted ourselves within the letter of the law by doing what the law dictates us to do and that was to seize evidence, In this case it was the horses.”

The horse owners also claim the horses were taken to an unknown location and the BCSPCA did not tell the owners where the horses had been taken.

Bachman said, “The owners were contacted within 72 hours of the seizure of the animals. My wife personally contacted every one of those owners by telephone. She did not notify them of where the animals were kept and that was because they were evidence and we didn’t want the evidence to be tampered with.”

Source: http://www.wbir.com/story/news/local/maryville-blount/2014/04/30/horse-owners-sue-blount-county-spca-for-21-million/8531341/

1. Return of horses seized in Larry Wheelon stable raid delayed by dispute

2. Charges dropped against Tenn. horse sorer Wheelon; case may go to Grand Jury

3. Hearing reset for Blount County trainer in horse soring case

4. Nineteen sored horses seized; trainer charged with felony animal cruelty

5 thoughts on “Walking Horse owners sue Blount County SPCA for $2.1M”

  1. These people are such liars, they will do anything for money. Trying to say the BCSPCA would take the horses and then starve them? I imagine what was done was to slowly remove the crazy 3 inch blocks off of the horses feet. There was a article right after all of this happened about what has to be done remove the blocks because if its not done correctly it could damage the horses shoulder muscles. Once the blocks were removed when the crooked owners got the horses back all of the blocks would have to be put back on and the crooks would have to start all over again forcing the horses to dance to pain.


  2. It is truly never ending…..How much longer do these horses have to endure the torture and pain and be at the hands of these trainers? …Why can’t it stop or is every one of the owners and trainers money hungry idiots?


  3. If the owners of these horses truly cared about the well being of these horses then they would drop the suit against the BCSPCA. Soring is a cruel way to treat a horse. I hope they stop thinking of their pocketbooks and more compassion for the animals.


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