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3 plead guilty of horse abuse

3 plead guilty of horse abuse

Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 8:00 pm

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — Three men pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to abusing horses in a case that arose from an undercover video done by the Humane Society of the United States.
Jackie L. McConnell, 60, of Collierville; John Mays, 50, of Collierville; and Joseph R. Abernathy, 30, of Olive Branch, Miss., are to be sentenced Sept. 10.
Prosecutors said McConnell and his wife own and operate Whitter Stables in Collierville, where he trains and boards Tennessee Walking Horses for shows. Mays and Abernathy worked for Whitter Stables as assistants, grooms and farriers.
Last week, the Humane Society of the United States released a video of horse abuse that led to indictments in the case. The video was taken in 2011 at McConnell’s farm by an undercover investigator who spent seven weeks in a training barn.
The video showed chemicals being applied to the horse’s legs, which are then wrapped in plastic. The practice is known as soring and is designed to produce the high stepping gait viewed favorably by judges. The video was first aired on ABC’s “Nightline” last week.
Prosecutors said McConnell faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Mayes and Abernathy both face up to one year in prison and a $3,000 fine  Charges are pending against a fourth person.
Published in The Messenger 5.23.12

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