Horse sorers drop lawsuit against Blount County animal welfare group

Image from 2015 HSUS Horse Soring Investigation.
Image from 2015 HSUS Horse Soring Investigation.

BLOUNT COUNTY, TENNESSEE (Horse Soring) — You can’t make this stuff up. Who could believe it?

The Daily Times reports:

Caslon Quote Left Black Several horse owners suing a nonprofit Blount County animal welfare group over the seizure of their horses from Larry Wheelon Stables in 2013 have decided to drop their lawsuit.

Maryville attorney Rob White filed the $2.1 million lawsuit against the Blount County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) on April 25, 2014 — exactly a year after the organization seized 19 horses from a Maryville barn as part of an investigation into allegations of illegal soring practices.

The horses were returned to their owners in late 2013 after a Blount County judge threw out the original case against Wheelon and several stable workers. They were later indicted by a Blount County grand jury, but the cases were dismissed yet again.

Larry Joe Wheelon. Photo: The Daily Times.
Larry Joe Wheelon. Photo: The Daily Times.

One was thrown out due to insufficient evidence, one because the defendant died in a car crash and the two remaining cases — including the case against Wheelon — were tossed by a Blount County judge who found constitutional rights violations in the investigation.

White said his clients moved to dismiss the BCSPCA lawsuit without prejudice, meaning they have the option to refile the litigation within a year’s time.

“We’re basically wanting to back off right now and assess where we’re at and decide what action we want to take, if any,” White told The Daily Times on Wednesday.

One of the seven horse owners, Kenneth Smith, dropped his case against the BCSPCA in December. White filed a notice of voluntary dismissal July 6 on behalf of the six remaining plaintiffs, Rebecca and William Andrews, Rodney Koger, Bobbie Jo Koger, Dwight Brooks and Joe Barnes.

Wheelon and Rodney Koger were arrested earlier this year in Fentress County on numerous animal cruelty charges. The two were indicted by a Fentress County grand jury in June on 26 counts each of animal cruelty.

Read more »

This is horse soring.

Related Reading

Go here for more on Larry Wheelon »

Horse Soring

Soring is the use of chemicals, pressure or devices to cause pain to the front feet and legs of horses when they touch the ground. This results in the horses picking up their front feet higher and faster than they would do naturally. It is an abusive and prohibited practice, illegal in the U.S. under the Horse Protection Act of 1970 (HPA). It is closely associated with a unique high-stepping action of the front legs called “big lick” movement in show ring Tennessee Walking Horses.

Under normal circumstances, “big lick” action is normally created by horseshoes that have added pads and weight (sometimes called “stacks”), usually combined with additional weighted chains or rollers placed around the pasterns to create dramatic, high-stepping flashy action of the horse’s front legs, desired in the horse show ring.

Both criminal and civil penalties can be assessed against individuals who engage in soring.

Take action against Big Lick Animal Cruelty

HORSE SORING — Calling all advocates against horse soring. Please help sored horses by joining a protest, signing a Petition against it and contacting federal legislators to endorse the PAST (Prevent All Soring Tactics) Act which will close the loopholes in the current law exploited by “Big Lickers”.

What is Horse Soring?

Horse soring is a painful practice used to accentuate a horse’s gait in competitions for big prizes. This is accomplished by irritating the feet and forelegs through mechanical irritants or the injection or application of chemicals.

• Chemical Soring

Chemical soring involves using agents such as mustard oil, diesel fuel, kerosene, salicylic acid, crotonal or croton oil, collodion, and others, on the pasterns, bulbs of heel, or coronary band of the horses.

The resultant burning or blistering causes the horse to snatch up his front legs, accentuating his gait.

These chemicals are harmful, toxic and sometimes carcinogenic. Trainers must use a brush and wear gloves when applying them. The area may then be wrapped in plastic while the chemicals are absorbed.

Image from 2015 HSUS Horse Soring Investigation.
Image from 2015 HSUS Horse Soring Investigation.

• Mechanical Soring

Mechanical soring can be just as painful chemical soring. Stacks up to 5″ high and filled with a variety of substances for added weight, are attached to the front hooves, causing the horse to stand perpetually in an elevated, unnatural position. This type of shoeing causes chronic, constant pain.

Known as “action devices,” chains worn around the pasterns can range from the mildly annoying to the extremely painful. Alone, the six-ounce chains accepted in the show ring may not harm the horse, but horses sored with heavy chains or chemicals prior to the show date can suffer intense pain in the ring as the lighter chains repeatedly bang against the sore area.

Tennessee Walking Horse with stacks and chains, part and parcel of Big Lick animal cruelty.
Tennessee Walking Horse with stacks and chains, part and parcel of Big Lick animal cruelty. Photographer unknown.
Horse soring radiograph. USDA image.
Horse soring x-ray. Some 49 nails were used to hold the pads together on this Tennessee Walking Horse. USDA image.

New Methods

The above are the most common examples. However, over the years more types of soring designed to be harder to detect have been invented. So the treachery and cruelty surrounding these beautiful and gentle animals continues and all to win big prizes in brutal and ugly competitions.

Horse Soring in Action

Protest

If you are willing to protest horse soring at an upcoming event, please text Clant Seay at 662-380-3367 for further information such as locations and meet up times. Contact him right away. There may be one near you soon. Bring your friends. T-shirts for everyone!

Petition and Support the PAST Act

• Go here to sign the Petition »

• Go here to learn how you can support the PAST Act, H.R. 1847 »

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The Big Lick performed at the 75th Walking Horse Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee on August 29, 2013. HSUS image.

Panama City Beach “Big Lick” horse show manager threatens advocate telling him “You are a dead man.”

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. – On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, the Panama City “Big Lick” Horse Show Manager Mr. Todd Fisher assaulted a CCABLAC (Citizens Against “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty) equine welfare advocate Clant M. Seay at the Frank Brown Park by telling him “You are a dead man”. Watch it here.

Mr. Seay is an animal welfare advocate with CCABLAC and publisher of the www.BillyGoBoy.com website.

A month ago, CCABLAC presented over 100,000 signature Petition to the White House in Washington, D.C., asking President Donald J. Trump to approve a Federal Regulation which would remove the “Pads and Chains” and abolish “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty.

Clant Seay and CCABLAC advocates in Washington, D.C. March 29, 2017.
Clant Seay and CCABLAC advocates in Washington, D.C. March 29, 2017.

Prior to Mr. Seay being assaulted by Mr. Todd Fisher, Mr. Seay was confronted by Horse Show organizer Ms. Martha Blackmon Milligan, a politically connected Bay County, Florida attorney whose Law Office is located in Panama City, Florida.

Mr. Fisher has a history of violence with road rage allegations against him in Bay County, Florida, and a Warrant was issued for his arrest in Hinds County, Mississippi  for attempting to assault Mr. Seay for videoing a “Big Lick” Horse Show in 2015.

• Read more at source »  • View video »

What is horse soring?

Horse soring is a painful practice used to accentuate a horse’s gait to win big prizes, such as Tennessee Walking Horse competitions. This is accomplished by irritating the hooves and forelegs through the injection or application of chemical or mechanical irritants. Learn more at The Horse Fund »

Video

Also from Clant Seay and CCABLAC:

Watch 2016 “Big Lick” World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse ‘Honors’ attempt to “canter”. Merriam Webster defines a “Canter” as “a 3-beat gait resembling but smoother and slower than the gallop.” What you are seeing here from ‘Honors’ is anything but smooth. Some might have the opinion that it looks “painful and ugly”. Please note the severity of the bit shanks, the size of the platform stack shoes and the chain on the front feet. — Clant Seay

Please support H.R. 1847, the PAST Act. Call or go online today. Learn more and act now »

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“Big Lick” protesters at Frank Brown Park, Panama City Beach, Florida, last year, 2016. Source: BillyGoBoy.com.

Help us get 2/3rds of the House to co-sponsor the PAST Act

WASHINGTON, DC — Help us get 2/3rds of the U.S. House of Representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 1847, the PAST Act (Prevent All Soring Tactics).  We only need 80 more co-sponsors to do it.

The PAST Act is written to help close the loopholes in the Horse Protection Act outlawing horse soring.

Horse Soring

Horse soring is the use of chemicals, pressure or devices to cause pain to the front feet and legs of horses when they touch the ground. This results in the horses picking up their front feet higher and faster than they would do naturally.

Horse soring is an abusive and prohibited practice, illegal in the U.S.  It is closely associated with a unique high-stepping action of the front legs called “big lick” movement in show ring Tennessee Walking Horses.

Practitioners of soring do so because they believe that the pain associated with this practice exaggerates the “big lick” to a greater degree and gives them a competitive edge over horses that are not treated in this manner.

Other breeds that have a history of horse soring abuses include the Racking Horse and the Spotted Saddle Horse.

Reintroduction of the PAST Act

The PAST Act  — H.R. 1847 — was introduced by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL-3) with 208 originating co-sponsors. At the time of this writing, H.R. 1847 has 220 co-sponsors. [1] Let’s take it to 300. Together we can do this.

The reintroduction of the PAST Act became necessary when an equal provision awaiting publication in the Federal Register was axed in its early days by the Trump Administration at the behest it has been suggested of Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. [2]

The Federal Registry entry contained new rules to close enforcement loopholes in the Horse Protection Act.

The new rules, which call for the removal of action devices and the ungainly pads on the front hooves, were approved on the last day of Barack Obama’s administration but had the support of 224 Senators and members of Congress, as well as over 100,000 public comments. [3]

Take Action

Please do one of the following.

First, find out if your Representative in Washington D.C. has co-sponsored H.R. 1847, then take one of the following actions:

POPVOX

• If they have, please endorse the bill and in the endorsement comments section thank your Representatives for co-sponsoring H.R. 1847 and ask them to use their influence to take it all the way to becoming law.

• If they have yet to co-sponsor H.R. 1847, endorse the bill and tell them in the comments section why it is important to you, but most of all for the horses.

House.gov

If you are not a POPVOX member find your U.S. Representative with your 4+ zip code and use their contact form to ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 1847.

Telephone

If you know who your U.S. Representative and prefer to telephone, the Clerk of the House maintains addresses and phone numbers of all House members and Committees. Call (202) 225-3121 for the U.S. House switchboard operator.

Be sure to give them your name and address so they can identify you as a constituent. They may not ask! If you want a reply from your Representative you must ask for it. It is not automatic.

No form letters

Do not use automated systems with formulated messages. Your message is unlikely to be seen or counted. Batches of these things are often counted as one.

Sign Up with POPVOX

If you have yet to sign up with POPVOX we urge you to do so. We want your voice heard and our years of experience lobbying show us this the easiest and most effective way, and the most informative.

Your legislators and their staff use this tool to track constituent support and opposition and the reasons why. POPVOX also offers other important constituent services.

All you need is a working email and password to sign up.

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Check out our page to see which horse related bills we endorse and oppose. Thank you!

FEATURED IMAGE
Image from 2015 HSUS Horse Soring Investigation.