A reward of up to $US10,000 is on offer from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) as it continues its push against the illegal act of horse soring.
Soring is the practice of using chemical or mechanical irritants to sensitize the lower legs of horses, encouraging the high gait that is desired in the walking horse industry.
It has been banned under a federal law for 40 years, but recent court action has shown soring is still practiced by some.
The society says its standing reward of up to $US10,000 will be paid for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any violator of the Horse Protection Act or any state law which bans soring.
Tennessee’s animal cruelty statute specifically prohibits soring, and was recently amended to create a felony offense of animal cruelty for applying acid or other caustic substance or chemical to any exposed area of an animal, which is a common method for soring horses.
The HSUS is encouraging the reporting of soring offenses in light of the recent prosecution of well-known Tennessee Walking Horse trainer Jackie McConnell for act violations.
“This gross abuse to horses cannot be allowed to continue unabated,” the society’s director of equine protection, Keith Dane, said.
“It is vital that witnesses to these crimes come forward and report them so that offenders can be brought to justice and this vile practice finally ended.”
Soring in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry captured national attention after a recent undercover investigation by the society led to a 52-count indictment against McConnell – who has said he intends to plead guilty to one count of felony conspiracy to violate the Horse Protection Act – and three of his associates.
McConnell also faces prosecution for violations of the Tennessee animal cruelty statute.
Earlier this year, the society paid a $US10,000 reward for information that led to the arrest and conviction of Barney Davis, a Tennessee horse trainer, for violations of the Horse Protection Act.
Davis testified during his sentencing hearing that soring is a common practice.
“They’ve got to be sored to walk,” Davis said at the February 17 hearing.
“I mean, that’s the bottom line. It ain’t no good way to put it, but that’s it.”
Anyone with information on soring should call 301-258-1488 or email email@example.com. The HSUS will protect the identity of all callers.