There is a respected equine magazine in Great Britain called “Horse & Hound” and earlier this week the current issue included a story entitled, “Tennessee Walking Horse ‘Torturer’ Escapes Jail.” The story was one of many that were generated from a Federal Court sentencing that was decreed in Chattanooga in mid-September and left animal advocates fuming. But if you think Americans are mad – just wait!
The magazine, which showed a picture of a magnificent Tennessee Walker, wrote, “A Tennessee walking horse trainer has been sentenced to three years’ probation and fined $75,000 (£47,070) for “soring” horses — an illegal practice which causes walking horses to lift their legs higher for shows.
“Jackie McConnell was charged with 52 counts of violating of the Horse Protection Act (HPA),” the magazine explained the Sept. 18 sentencing in Chattanooga. “I take responsibility for what I’ve done,’ (McConnell) said,” but that was hardly good enough for European horse lovers.
While the sentencing took place two months ago, what I want you to do is to read the comments of the British readers who replied to the “Horse & Hound” report. Here we go:
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BECCY HARRIS -- “This is appalling. Why no jail time? I have never seen anything more disturbing that that undercover video, and simply can't understand why this man wasn't locked away. DISGUSTING!”
NIKKY JONES – “Ridiculous! The old boy network strikes again.....poor bloody horses.”
SHARON MONAGHAN – “He should of got prison and whilst in there, chemicals poured on his feet, beat up the face and electric prodes stuck in him. The world is a painful cruel place for animals. Evil at his best, but then why not? Sure the punishment is harmless. The horses look awkward and uncomfortable walking like this. I don't understand why you would be interested in something like this.”
TRACY KERR -- “Yet again the law lets down these magnificent animals, if the maximum sentence is five years why do these judges pussy foot around? Just slap the maximum on them and maybe (and only maybe) people would think twice, but probably not, as they are evil, sly, morons who think they'll never been brought to justice.....Appalled!”
CHARLOTTE REDFERN -- “Should have been ordered to pay back all of his winnings and earnings associated with these poor horses. When the winnings for these competitions are up to $250,000, his fine was peanuts!”
STACEY GOBBY COBBY STEEL -- “I just cried. Everyone involved in this sport including the organisers and judges must know what goes on to make the horses to this. Horrible!”
FARREN MINNS – “That’s awful. Makes me sick.”
SHARON BRADY -- “Nice to see it was taken seriously … NOT!”
KIMI BRADY – “This is crazy!”
RACHEL MOLLOY – “Absolutely sickening.”
LAYLA WALKER -- “Evil, twisted, inbred people.... they do not deserve to be near a horse, let alone own them.”
RACHEL MOLLOY – “I saw (the video) some time ago and it actually gave me nightmares, really couldnt watch it again … so, so sad.”
VICKI MARIS – “Shameful and disgusting.”
JANE SUGDEN – “Well, that just shows you what people in America think of horses. Why do they think they know how to run the world - perhaps they did not know 'my kingdom for a horse'?”
ALISON MACKEY -- “I usually don't comment on things, but I am an English person living in America, and I feel your comment is pretty unfair. England has it fair share of animal abusers, seems every week in the Horse and Hound there are reports of animals cruelty. Yes, this man needs to locked up and the key thrown away, it’s a barbaric practice for sure, but please, don't judge the American equestrian folk on this man actions...”
ANNIE SHAW, San Francisco, California – “I have to say my feeling as a Brit living in the US is that US sentencing is much more lax than UK.”
STEPHANIE LOMAX – “No justice has been served at all!”
ANNIE CASS – “This man was producing a product to a specific market, and although his methods were at the extreme end of the spectrum, others are doing similar things in good conscience because of what they think the judges of their classes want to see. As horse-people we need to make sure that whatever we do with our horses always benefits (the horse.) This should include show classes. And yes, this man and any like him should be PROPERLY punished for what they do, in a manner that ensures they NEVER do it again.”
MAUREEN CLEIRING – “Years ago it was 'gingering,’ ‘blistering' and dosing with arsenic. People who do this to our wonderful equine friend’s therapists and colleagues should have the same done to them. I would volunteer to administer!”
NIKKI ROBINSON – “Disgusting - I am appalled that he has got off so lightly. He deserves to be jailed, fined and banned from keeping animals for life – oh, and lets pour a bit of diesel fuel or mustard oil on him, wrap him in cling-flim and shock him on the nose with a pig-poke for good measure... Vile piece of humanity.”
KATHY SLIVKA – “Unbelievable...where are the laws to protect our innocent horses? If the maximum sentence was 5 years in prison, then his (butt) should be sitting in prison and paying $250,000 which, by the way, he earned by abusing the horses. I guess everyone can be bought off with the right price. I am nauseated!”
SHEILA McDANIEL (from Austria) – “I think he should have been sent to the worst prison where he would have experienced the fear these poor animals have had to endure.”
JENNY LUCK – “Disgusting man! And there are plenty more over there doing the same thing!”
PAM CARY (at the University of New Hampshire) – “That's the American justice system for you....”
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Oh, what the Brits think of Americans today, especially those “Big Lickers” who have used greed to sully the magnificent name of the Tennessee Walking Horse. Please write your state and national representatives to join the American Veterinary Medical Association and many other equine groups to halt abuse of horses. Notify your sheriff of any suspected animal abuse and petition our president on the website “We the People” to send a military drone to Shelbyville if that what it takes to clean up a despicable industry.
We can no longer continue to be thought of as “evil, twisted, inbred people” because of the few who are.